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U.S. History
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The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo And the Iraq War's Buried History
The Secret Way to War
The Downing Street Memo And the Iraq War's Buried History
Paperback      ISBN: 1590172078

The United States went to war in Iraq to eliminate the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction--which turned out not to exist. As the war drags on, the strange case of the weapons that were not there remains a matter of bitter debate, for it underscores the fact that the goals and the motivations of the Bush administration officials who argued for war are still largely obscure. Yet in fact there exists crucial and little-publicized evidence that lets us understand the secretive, even deceptive, way that the the US launched a war of choice in the Middle East in March 2003.

At the beginning of May 2005, just before the British elections, the London Times published the "Downing Street Memo," the leaked secret minutes of a July 2002 meeting of senior British intelligence, foreign policy, and security officials. The memo made clear that eight months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush had already decided on war. The British officials who attended the meeting were told that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," that the US wanted to avoid consulting the UN, and that few plans were being made for the aftermath of war.

Largely ignored in the US press for weeks afterward, The New York Review of Books published the memo in its entirety with an extensive commentary by award-winning journalist Mark Danner. Danner explains how the memo clarifies the broader--and largely concealed--history of the events leading up to the Iraq war. He shows that the Bush and Blair administrations advocated the resumption of UN weapons inspections as a means not to avoid war but to ensure it. Most importantly, Danner argues that in the face of the memo's clear evidence of deception, the press, public, and Congress still have not held the administration responsible.

The Secret Way to War, with a preface by by Frank Rich, includes Mark Danner's strongly argued analysis of the Downing Street Memo as well as the complete text of the memo and seven other leaked British documents. Collectively, the documents show the members of Tony Blair's government and their counterparts in Washington struggling to find legal and political rationales and strategies for regime change in Iraq.
Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings Vol. 2 1859-1865 (Loa #46)
Abraham Lincoln
Speeches and Writings Vol. 2 1859-1865 (Loa #46)
Hardcover      ISBN: 0940450631

Abraham Lincoln was the greatest writer of the Civil War as well as its greatest political leader. His clear, beautiful, and at times uncompromisingly severe language forever shaped the nation's
understanding of its most terrible conflict. This volume, along with its companion, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858, comprises the most comprehensive selection ever published. Over 550 speeches, messages, proclamations, letters, and other writings--including the Inaugural and Gettysburg addresses and the moving condolence letter to Mrs. Bixby--record the words and deeds with which Lincoln defended, preserved, and redefined the Union.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson I
The Path to Power
The Years of Lyndon Johnson I
Paperback      ISBN: 0679729453

The Years of Lyndon Johnson is the political biography of our time. No president--no era of American politics--has been so intensively and sharply examined at a time when so many prime witnesses to hitherto untold or misinterpreted facets of a life, a career, and a period of history could still be persuaded to speak.

The Path to Power, Book One, reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and urge to power that set LBJ apart. Chronicling the startling early emergence of Johnson's political genius, it follows him from his Texas boyhood through the years of the Depression in the Texas hill Country to the triumph of his congressional debut in New Deal Washington, to his heartbreaking defeat in his first race for the Senate, and his attainment, nonetheless, of the national power for which he hungered.

We see in him, from earliest childhood, a fierce, unquenchable necessity to be first, to win, to dominate--coupled with a limitless capacity for hard, unceasing labor in the service of his own ambition. Caro shows us the big, gangling, awkward young Lyndon--raised in one of the country's most desperately poor and isolated areas, his education mediocre at best, his pride stung by his father's slide into failure and financial ruin--lunging for success, moving inexorably toward that ultimate "impossible" goal that he sets for himself years before any friend or enemy suspects what it may be.

We watch him, while still at college, instinctively (and ruthlessly) creating the beginnings of the political machine that was to serve him for three decades. We see him employing his extraordinary ability to mesmerize and manipulate powerful older men, to mesmerize (and sometimes almost enslave) useful subordinates. We see him carrying out, before his thirtieth year, his first great political inspiration: tapping-and becoming the political conduit for-the money and influence of the new oil men and contractors who were to grow with him to immense power. We follow, close up, the radical fluctuations of his relationships with the formidable "Mr. Sam" Raybum (who loved him like a son and whom he betrayed) and with FDR himself. And we follow the dramas of his emotional life-the intensities and complications of his relationships with his family, his contemporaries, his girls; his wooing and winning of the shy Lady Bird; his secret love affair, over many years, with the mistress of one of his most ardent and generous supporters . . .

Johnson driving his people to the point of exhausted tears, equally merciless with himself . . . Johnson bullying, cajoling, lying, yet inspiring an amazing loyalty . . . Johnson maneuvering to dethrone the unassailable old Jack Garner (then Vice President of the United States) as the New Deal's "connection" in Texas, and seize the power himself . . . Johnson raging . . . Johnson hugging . . . Johnson bringing light and, indeed, life to the worn Hill Country farmers and their old-at-thirty wives via the district's first electric lines.

We see him at once unscrupulous, admirable, treacherous, devoted. And we see the country that bred him: the harshness and "nauseating loneliness" of the rural life; the tragic panorama of the Depression; the sudden glow of hope at the dawn of the Age of Roosevelt. And always, in the foreground, on the move, LBJ.

Here is Lyndon Johnson--his Texas, his Washington, his America--in a book that brings us as close as we have ever been to a true perception of political genius and the American political process.
The Great Bridge
The Great Bridge
Paperback      ISBN: 067145711x
The dramatic and enthralling story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, the world's longest suspension bridge at the time, a tale of greed, corruption, and obstruction but also of optimism, heroism, and determination, told by master historian David McCullough.

This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation's history, during the Age of Optimism--a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.

In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals. Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering. Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project. But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.
The Portable Thomas Jefferson
The Portable Thomas Jefferson
Paperback      ISBN: 0140150803

Includes A Summary View of the Rights of British America and Notes on the State of Virginia complete; seventy-nine letters; Response to the Citizens of Albemarle, 1790; Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791; and many other writings.

Fredericksburg to Meridian
Fredericksburg to Meridian
Paperback      ISBN: 039474621x

Focused on the pivotal year of 1863, the second volume of Shelby Foote's masterful narrative history brings to life the Battle of Gettysburg and Grant's Vicksburg campaign and covers some of the most dramatic and important moments in the Civil War.

Includes maps throughout.

This, then, is narrative history--a kind of history that goes back to an older literary tradition.... The writing is superb...one of the historical and literary achievements of our time. --The Washington Post Book World

Mr. Foote has an acute sense of the relative importance of events and a novelist's skill in directing the reader's attention to the men and the episodes that will influence the course of the whole war, without omitting items which are of momentary interest. His organization of facts could hardly be better. --Atlantic

Though the events of this middle year of the Civil War have been recounted hundreds of times, they have rarely been re-created with such vigor and such picturesque detail. --The New York Times Book Review

The lucidity of the battle narratives, the vigor of the prose, the strong feeling for the men from generals to privates who did the fighting, are all controlled by constant sense of how it happened and what it was all about. Foote has the novelist's feeling for character and situation, without losing the historian's scrupulous regard for recorded fact. The Civil War is likely to stand unequaled. --Walter Mills
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
Parting the Waters
America in the King Years 1954-63
Paperback      ISBN: 0671687425
In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his essential America in the King Years series, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a "compelling...masterfully told" (The Wall Street Journal) account of Martin Luther King's early years and rise to greatness.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American Civil Rights Movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.

Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.

Epic in scope and impact, Branch's chronicle definitively captures one of the nation's most crucial passages.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country: The People and Places in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Life and Books
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
The People and Places in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Life and Books
Paperback      ISBN: 0060973463
Laura Ingalls Wilder Country takes the millions of fans of the Little House books and the hit TV series on an enchanting tour of the real world of the well-loved author, visiting the people and places who inspired her classic books. With hundreds of photos, many in full color, this memorabilia book makes a beautiful gift.
Hopi Kachina Dolls with a Key to Their Identification
Hopi Kachina Dolls with a Key to Their Identification
Paperback      ISBN: 0826301800

A Hopi Indian will tell you that a kachina is a supernatural being who is impersonated by a man wearing a mask. Small wooden dolls carved in the likenesses of the various kachinas are used to help teach Hopi children the tribal religion and traditions. Each child receives a doll made especially for him by his male relatives. He treasures the doll and studies it so that he can learn to recognize and respect the host of spirit kachinas that people the Hopi world.

Kachinas are difficult to classify because different Hopi pueblos have different ideas about their appearance and their functions. The late Dr. Harold S. Colton identified 266 different kinds of kachina dolls, and in this book he describes the meaning, the making, and the principal features of all of them. Each type of doll is pictured in a simplified line drawing. There is also an illustrated key to help the collector identify the various types.

The Women's West
The Women's West
Paperback      ISBN: 0806120673

The American West looms large in popular imagination-a place where men were rugged and independent, violent and courageous. In this mythic West all the men were white, and the women were largely absent. The few female actors played supporting roles around the edges of the drama. Molded by the Victorian Cult of True Womanhood, they were passive, dependent, reluctant, and out of place. Men won the West. Women, against their better judgement, followed them to this newly discovered place and tried to re-create the amenities of the urban East.

Or so the myth goes. The Women's West challenges this picture as racist, sexist, and romantic and rejects the customary emphasis of traditional western history on the nineteenth-century frontier, discovered and defined by Anglo men. In its place The Women's West begins the construction of a new western history as complex and varied as the people who lived it.

This collection of twenty-one articles creates a multidimensional portrait of western women. The pioneer women presented here were actors in their own lives, not passive participants in their husbands' ventures. They were hardy seekers who came west, sometimes alone, in search of jobs, freedom, or land to homestead. They were political activists who worked tirelessly to win the right to vote and to hold political office. They adapted in practical ways to their own and their families' economic and personal needs in a new environment.