Social History
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History
Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire
A 500-Year History
Paperback      ISBN: 0812978900
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "The single most important explanation, and the fullest explanation, of how Donald Trump became president of the United States . . . nothing less than the most important book that I have read this year."--Lawrence O'Donnell

How did we get here?

In this sweeping, eloquent history of America, Kurt Andersen shows that what's happening in our country today--this post-factual, "fake news" moment we're all living through--is not something new, but rather the ultimate expression of our national character. America was founded by wishful dreamers, magical thinkers, and true believers, by hucksters and their suckers. Fantasy is deeply embedded in our DNA.

Over the course of five centuries--from the Salem witch trials to Scientology to the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, from P. T. Barnum to Hollywood and the anything-goes, wild-and-crazy sixties, from conspiracy theories to our fetish for guns and obsession with extraterrestrials--our love of the fantastic has made America exceptional in a way that we've never fully acknowledged. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams and epic fantasies--every citizen was free to believe absolutely anything, or to pretend to be absolutely anybody. With the gleeful erudition and tell-it-like-it-is ferocity of a Christopher Hitchens, Andersen explores whether the great American experiment in liberty has gone off the rails.

Fantasyland could not appear at a more perfect moment. If you want to understand Donald Trump and the culture of twenty-first-century America, if you want to know how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you must read this book.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"This is a blockbuster of a book. Take a deep breath and dive in."--Tom Brokaw

" An] absorbing, must-read polemic . . . a provocative new study of America's cultural history."--Newsday

"Compelling and totally unnerving."--The Village Voice

"A frighteningly convincing and sometimes uproarious picture of a country in steep, perhaps terminal decline that would have the founding fathers weeping into their beards."--The Guardian

"This is an important book--the indispensable book--for understanding America in the age of Trump."--Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci
John Heartfield: Laughter Is a Devastating Weapon: His Original Photomontages and Printed Matter from the Akademie Der Keunste Berlin a
John Heartfield: Laughter Is a Devastating Weapon
His Original Photomontages and Printed Matter from the Akademie Der Keunste Berlin a
Hardcover      ISBN: 1849761841

German artist John Heartfield (1891-1968) is widely considered one of the inventors of photomontage. In the 1930s, he produced some of the most visually arresting and politically hard-hitting artwork of the 20th century, appropriating the widely circulated propaganda of the time to create its total antithesis. In his own words, he used "laughter as a devastating weapon" to target the Nazis, which made him a target for Nazi censorship. In 1933, the Gestapo destroyed much of his work, after which he produced his brilliantly terrifying images in exile. This new book includes an insightful essay and more than 150 full-color reproductions of his works.

Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination
Something's Coming, Something Good
West Side Story and the American Imagination
Paperback      ISBN: 155783766x

Something's Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination takes a critical, comprehensive look at one of the most inventive, influential, and internationally beloved Broadway musicals of all time - from its inception by a brilliant quartet of creators (Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim, and Laurents) to its smashing success on film, to its ongoing popularity on stages around the world and its potent impact on the Great American Musical. Featuring intriguing chapters on West Side Story in relation to Romeo and Juliet; as a recording phenomenon; as a film rated the second-best movie musical of all time by the American Film Institute; as part of a wave of juvenile delinquency dramas; as the first great choreographer-auteur musical; and as the granddaddy of "youth musicals" such as Hair and Rent, Something's Coming, Something Good is a revealing guide for those who have seen the show; for those who wish to study it for pleasure or inspiration; and for actors, designers, and directors planning on producing it.

An Edible History of Humanity
An Edible History of Humanity
Paperback      ISBN: 0802719910

The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses charts the enlightening history of humanity through the foods we eat.

More than simply sustenance, food historically has been a kind of technology, changing the course of human progress by helping to build empires, promote industrialization, and decide the outcomes of wars. Tom Standage draws on archaeology, anthropology, and economics to reveal how food has helped shape and transform societies around the world, from the emergence of farming in China by 7500 b.c. to the use of sugar cane and corn to make ethanol today. An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying account of human history.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
All the Single Ladies
Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Paperback      ISBN: 1476716579
* NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF 2016 SELECTION BY THE BOSTON GLOBE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * NPR * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY *

The New York Times bestselling investigation into the sexual, economic, and emotional lives of women is "an informative and thought-provoking book for anyone--not just the single ladies--who want to gain a greater understanding of this pivotal moment in the history of the United States" (The New York Times Book Review).

In 2009, award-winning journalist Rebecca Traister started All the Single Ladies about the twenty-first century phenomenon of the American single woman. It was the year the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent; and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890-1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.

But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change--temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.

"An informative and thought-provoking book for anyone--not just single ladies" (The New York Times Book Review), All the Single Ladies is a remarkable portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the unmarried American woman. Covering class, race, sexual orientation, and filled with vivid anecdotes from fascinating contemporary and historical figures, "we're better off reading Rebecca Traister on women, politics, and America than pretty much anyone else" (The Boston Globe).
The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
The Cooking Gene
A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
Paperback      ISBN: 0062379275

2018 James Beard Foundation Book of the Year - 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner inWriting - Nominee for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction - #75 on The Root100 2018

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry--both black and white--through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who "owns" it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.

From the tobacco and rice farms of colonial times to plantation kitchens and backbreaking cotton fields, Twitty tells his family story through the foods that enabled his ancestors' survival across three centuries. He sifts through stories, recipes, genetic tests, and historical documents, and travels from Civil War battlefields in Virginia to synagogues in Alabama to Black-owned organic farms in Georgia.

As he takes us through his ancestral culinary history, Twitty suggests that healing may come from embracing the discomfort of the Southern past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep--the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

Illustrations by Stephen Crotts

The Hatred of Music
The Hatred of Music
Hardcover      ISBN: 0300211384
How does a man who once adored music beyond measure come to revile it as a form of tyranny?

Throughout Pascal Quignard's distinguished literary career, music has been a recurring obsession. As a musician he organized the International Festival of Baroque Opera and Theatre at Versailles in the early 1990s, and thus was instrumental in the rediscovery of much forgotten classical music. Yet in 1994 he abruptly renounced all musical activities. The Hatred of Music is Quignard's masterful exploration of the power of music and what history reveals about the dangers it poses.

From prehistoric chants to challenging contemporary compositions, Quignard reflects on music of all kinds and eras. He draws on vast cultural knowledge--the Bible, Greek mythology, early modern history, modern philosophy, the Holocaust, and more--to develop ten accessible treatises on music. In each of these small masterpieces the author exposes music's potential to manipulate, to mesmerize, to domesticate. Especially disturbing is his scrutiny of the role music played in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Quignard's provocative book takes on particular relevance today, as we find ourselves surrounded by music as never before in history.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
White Trash
The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
Paperback      ISBN: 0143129678

The New York Times Bestseller, with a new preface from the author

"This estimable book rides into the summer doldrums like rural electrification. . . . It deals in the truths that matter."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"This eye-opening investigation into our country's entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant."--O, The Oprah Magazine

"White Trash will change the way we think about our past and present."
--T. J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Custer's Trials

In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg, co-author of The Problem of Democracy, takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing--if occasionally entertaining--poor white trash.

"When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there's always a chance that the dancing bear will win," says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters that put Trump in the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as "waste people," "offals," "rubbish," "lazy lubbers," and "crackers." By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called "clay eaters" and "sandhillers," known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.

Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America's supposedly class-free society--where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics--a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ's Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.

We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation's history. With Isenberg's landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
Democracy
Democracy
Paperback      ISBN: 1608197190

Democracy opens in 490 B.C., with Athens at war. The hero of the story, Leander, is trying to rouse his comrades for the morrow's battle against a far mightier enemy, and begins to recount his own life, having borne direct witness to the evils of the old tyrannical regimes and to the emergence of a new political system. The tale that emerges is one of daring, danger, and big ideas, of the death of the gods and the tortuous birth of democracy. We see that democracy originated through a combination of chance and historical contingency--but also through the cunning, courage, and willful action of a group of remarkably talented and driven individuals.

Alecos Papadatos and Annie DiDonna, artists behind the international phenomenon Logicomix, together with writer Abraham Kawa, deliver a graphic novel bursting with extraordinary characters and vibrant color, one that also offers fresh insight into how this greatest of civic inventions came to be.

The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau: Husband Hunting in the Gilded Age: How American Heiresses Conquered the Aristocracy
The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau
Husband Hunting in the Gilded Age: How American Heiresses Conquered the Aristocracy
Hardcover      ISBN: 1781315965

On 6 November 1895 Consuelo Vanderbilt married Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. Though the preceding months had included spurned loves, unexpected deaths, scandal and illicit affairs, the wedding was the crowning moment for the unofficial marriage brokers, Lady Minnie Paget and Consuelo Yzanga, Dowager Duchess of Manchester, the original buccaneers who had instructed, cajoled and manipulated wealthy young heiresses into making the perfect match.

Fame, money, power, prestige, perhaps even love - these were some of the reasons for the marriages that took place between wealthy American heiresses and the English aristocracy in 1895. For a few, the marriages were happy but for many others, the matches brought loneliness, infidelity, bankruptcy and divorce.

Focusing on a single year, The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau tells the story of a group of wealthy American heiresses seeking to marry into the English aristocracy. From the beautiful and eligible debutante Consuelo Vanderbilt, in love with a dashing older man but thwarted by her controlling mother, Washington society heiress Mary Leiter who married the pompous Lord Curzon and became the Vicereine of India, Maud Burke, vivacious San Francisco belle with a questionable background, this book uncovers their stories. Also revealed is the hidden role played Lady Minnie Paget and Consuelo Yzanga, Dowager Duchess of Manchester, two unofficial marriage brokers who taught the heiresses how to use every social trick in the book to land their dream husband.

The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau dashes through the year to uncover the seasons, the parties, the money, the glamour, the gossip, the scandal and the titles, always with one eye on the two women who made it all possible.