U.s. Political History
Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress
Arguing about Slavery
John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress
Paperback      ISBN: 0679768440

In the 1830s slavery was so deeply entrenched that it could not even be discussed in Congress, which had enacted a "gag rule" to ensure that anti-slavery petitions would be summarily rejected. This stirring book chronicles the parliamentary battle to bring "the peculiar institution" into the national debate, a battle that some historians have called "the Pearl Harbor of the slavery controversy." The campaign to make slavery officially and respectably debatable was waged by John Quincy Adams who spent nine years defying gags, accusations of treason, and assassination threats. In the end he made his case through a combination of cunning and sheer endurance. Telling this story with a brilliant command of detail, Arguing About Slavery endows history with majestic sweep, heroism, and moral weight.


"Dramatic, immediate, intensely readable, fascinating and often moving."--New York Times Book Review
Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero
Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman
Portrait of an American Hero
Paperback      ISBN: 0345456289
The essential, "richly researched"* biography of Harriet Tubman, revealing a complex woman who "led a remarkable life, one that her race, her sex, and her origins make all the more extraordinary" (*The New York Times Book Review).

Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history--a fearless visionary who led scores of her fellow slaves to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. Now, in this magnificent biography, historian Kate Clifford Larson gives us a powerful, intimate, meticulously detailed portrait of Tubman and her times. Drawing from a trove of new documents and sources as well as extensive genealogical data, Larson presents Harriet Tubman as a complete human being--brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom. A true American hero, Tubman was also a woman who loved, suffered, and sacrificed.

Praise for Bound for the Promised Land

" Bound for the Promised Land] appropriately reads like fiction, for Tubman's exploits required such intelligence, physical stamina and pure fearlessness that only a very few would have even contemplated the feats that she actually undertook. . . . Larson captures Tubman's determination and seeming imperviousness to pain and suffering, coupled with an extraordinary selflessness and caring for others."--The Seattle Times

"Essential for those interested in Tubman and her causes . . . Larson does an especially thorough job of . . . uncovering relevant documents, some of them long hidden by history and neglect."--The Plain Dealer

"Larson has captured Harriet Tubman's clandestine nature . . . reading Ms. Larson made me wonder if Tubman is not, in fact, the greatest spy this country has ever produced."--The New York Sun
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals
The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Paperback      ISBN: 0743270754
Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South
Coming of Age in Mississippi
The Classic Autobiography of Growing Up Poor and Black in the Rural South
Paperback      ISBN: 0440314887
The unforgettable memoir of a woman at the front lines of the civil rights movement--a harrowing account of black life in the rural South and a powerful affirmation of one person's ability to affect change.

"Anne Moody's autobiography is an eloquent, moving testimonial to her courage."--Chicago Tribune

Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till's lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was . . . the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life.

A straight-A student who realized her dream of going to college when she won a basketball scholarship, she finally dared to join the NAACP in her junior year. Through the NAACP and later through CORE and SNCC, she experienced firsthand the demonstrations and sit-ins that were the mainstay of the civil rights movement--and the arrests and jailings, the shotguns, fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs, and deadly force that were used to destroy it.

A deeply personal story but also a portrait of a turning point in our nation's destiny, this autobiography lets us see history in the making, through the eyes of one of the footsoldiers in the civil rights movement.

Praise for Coming of Age in Mississippi

"A history of our time, seen from the bottom up, through the eyes of someone who decided for herself that things had to be changed . . . a timely reminder that we cannot now relax."--Senator Edward Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review

"Something is new here . . . rural southern black life begins to speak. It hits the page like a natural force, crude and undeniable and, against all principles of beauty, beautiful."--The Nation

"Engrossing, sensitive, beautiful . . . so candid, so honest, and so touching, as to make it virtually impossible to put down."--San Francisco Sun-Reporter
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
The Soul of America
The Battle for Our Better Angels
Paperback      ISBN: 0399589821
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.

ONE OF OPRAH'S "BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH" - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR - The Christian Science Monitor - Southern Living

Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the "better angels of our nature" have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women's rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson's crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear--a struggle that continues even now.

While the American story has not always--or even often--been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, "The good news is that we have come through such darkness before"--as, time and again, Lincoln's better angels have found a way to prevail.

Praise for The Soul of America

"Brilliant, fascinating, timely . . . With compelling narratives of past eras of strife and disenchantment, Meacham offers wisdom for our own time."--Walter Isaacson

"Gripping and inspiring, The Soul of America is Jon Meacham's declaration of his faith in America."--Newsday

"Meacham gives readers a long-term perspective on American history and a reason to believe the soul of America is ultimately one of kindness and caring, not rancor and paranoia."--USA Today
American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence
American Scripture
Making the Declaration of Independence
Paperback      ISBN: 0679779086

Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly "American Scripture," and Maier tells us how it came to be -- from the Declaration's birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, in the nineteenth century, the document itself became sanctified.

Maier describes the transformation of the Second Continental Congress into a national government, unlike anything that preceded or followed it, and with more authority than the colonists would ever have conceded to the British Parliament; the great difficulty in making the decision for Independence; the influence of Paine's Common Sense, which shifted the terms of debate; and the political maneuvers that allowed Congress to make the momentous decision.

In Maier's hands, the Declaration of Independence is brought close to us. She lets us hear the voice of the people as revealed in the other "declarations" of 1776: the local resolutions -- most of which have gone unnoticed over the past two centuries -- that explained, advocated, and justified Independence and undergirded Congress's work. Detective-like, she discloses the origins of key ideas and phrases in the Declaration and unravels the complex story of its drafting and of the group-editing job which angered Thomas Jefferson.

Maier also reveals what happened to the Declaration after the signing and celebration: how it was largely forgotten and then revived to buttress political arguments of the nineteenth century; and, most important, how Abraham Lincoln ensured its persistence as a living force in American society. Finally, she shows how by the very act of venerating the Declaration as we do -- by holding it as sacrosanct, akin to holy writ -- we may actually be betraying its purpose and its power.
Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World
Eunice
The Kennedy Who Changed the World
Hardcover      ISBN: 1451642261

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist examines the life and times of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, arguing she left behind the Kennedy family's most profound political legacy.

While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for the White House and the Senate, his Stanford-educated daughter Eunice was tapping her father's fortune and her brothers' political power to engineer one of the great civil rights movements of our time on behalf of millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Now, in Eunice, Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara finally brings Eunice Kennedy Shriver out from her brothers' shadow to show an officious, cigar-smoking, indefatigable woman of unladylike determination and deep compassion born of rage: at the medical establishment that had no answers for her sister Rosemary; at the revered but dismissive father whose vision for his family did not extend beyond his sons; and at the government that failed to deliver on America's promise of equality.

Granted access to never-before-seen private papers--from the scrapbooks Eunice kept as a schoolgirl in prewar London to her thoughts on motherhood and feminism--McNamara paints a vivid portrait of a woman both ahead of her time and out of step with it: the visionary founder of the Special Olympics, a devout Catholic in a secular age, and a formidable woman whose impact on American society was longer lasting than that of any of the Kennedy men.
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Democracy in Chains
The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Paperback      ISBN: 1101980974
Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Finalist for the National Book Award
The Nation's Most Valuable Book

" A] vibrant intellectual history of the radical right."--The Atlantic

"This sixty-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and eventually take the government itself is at the heart of Democracy in Chains. . . . If you're worried about what all this means for America's future, you should be."--NPR

An explosive expos of the right's relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution.

Behind today's headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect--the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan--and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite's power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.

Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan's work in teaching others how to divide America into "makers" and "takers." And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan's strategy.

Without Buchanan's ideas and Koch's money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. Based on ten years of unique research, Democracy in Chains tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok. This revelatory work of scholarship is also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
Drift
The Unmooring of American Military Power
Hardcover      ISBN: 0307460983

The #1 New York Times bestseller that charts America's dangerous drift into a state of perpetual war.
"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found-ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of "privateers"; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust-ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.
Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's "Drift "argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan's radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse.
Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seri-ously funny, "Drift "will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power--and who gets to make those decisions.

Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of a Young Black Girl in the Rural South
Coming of Age in Mississippi
The Classic Autobiography of a Young Black Girl in the Rural South
Paperback      ISBN: 0385337817
The unforgettable memoir of a woman at the front lines of the civil rights movement--a harrowing account of black life in the rural South and a powerful affirmation of one person's ability to affect change.

"Anne Moody's autobiography is an eloquent, moving testimonial to her courage."--Chicago Tribune

Born to a poor couple who were tenant farmers on a plantation in Mississippi, Anne Moody lived through some of the most dangerous days of the pre-civil rights era in the South. The week before she began high school came the news of Emmet Till's lynching. Before then, she had "known the fear of hunger, hell, and the Devil. But now there was . . . the fear of being killed just because I was black." In that moment was born the passion for freedom and justice that would change her life.

A straight-A student who realized her dream of going to college when she won a basketball scholarship, she finally dared to join the NAACP in her junior year. Through the NAACP and later through CORE and SNCC, she experienced firsthand the demonstrations and sit-ins that were the mainstay of the civil rights movement--and the arrests and jailings, the shotguns, fire hoses, police dogs, billy clubs, and deadly force that were used to destroy it.

A deeply personal story but also a portrait of a turning point in our nation's destiny, this autobiography lets us see history in the making, through the eyes of one of the footsoldiers in the civil rights movement.

Praise for Coming of Age in Mississippi

"A history of our time, seen from the bottom up, through the eyes of someone who decided for herself that things had to be changed . . . a timely reminder that we cannot now relax."--Senator Edward Kennedy, The New York Times Book Review

"Something is new here . . . rural southern black life begins to speak. It hits the page like a natural force, crude and undeniable and, against all principles of beauty, beautiful."--The Nation

"Engrossing, sensitive, beautiful . . . so candid, so honest, and so touching, as to make it virtually impossible to put down."--San Francisco Sun-Reporter