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.
Coming Into the Country
Coming Into the Country
Paperback      ISBN: 0374522871

Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush.

Readers of McPhee's earlier books will not be unprepared for his surprising shifts of scene and ordering of events, brilliantly combined into an organic whole. In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer mining, the habits and legends of the barren-ground grizzly, the outlook of a young Athapaskan chief, and tales of the fortitude of settlers--ordinary people compelled by extraordinary dreams. Coming into the Country unites a vast region of America with one of America's notable literary craftsmen, singularly qualified to do justice to the scale and grandeur of the design.

The Days of Rondo
The Days of Rondo
Paperback      ISBN: 0873512561

In the 1930s and the 1940s Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood. African Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South made up a vibrant, vital community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it.

The Days of Rondo is Evelyn Fairbanks's affectionate memoir of this lively neighborhood. Its pages are filled with fascinating people: Mama and Daddy--Willie Mae and George Edwards--who taught her about love and pride an dignity; Aunt Good, a tall and stately woman with a "queenly secretive attitude"; brother Morris, who "took the time to teach me about the street and the people I would find there"; Mrs. Neal, the genteel activist who showed her the difference between a salad fork and a dessert fork; Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, who started a girls' string band; and a whole assortment of street vendors and playmates who made up the world of her childhood

As she grew up, Fairbanks saw many different sides of her community. Her words bring to life the all-day Sunday services at the Sanctified church, the "perfect days" of her girlhood, and the ghost stories told on the porch of a soft midwestern summer evening. But she also remembers a visit to relatives in Georgia, the deaths of her Mama and Daddy, and the difficult lessons her free-wheeling brother taught her about friends and money. By the time Evelyn was a teenager, World War II was changing St. Paul and the whole world in ways that touched upon her own life. And through the years she was also discovering what it meant to grow up as a black person in Minnesota.

A gifted storyteller, Fairbanks has recreated the patterns of her neighborhood life in a northern city. Her story ends in the mid-1950s, a few years before the Rondo neighborhood was destroyed by freeway construction. In preserving her memories of this distinctive community, Evelyn Fairbanks has added an important dimension to our understanding of Minnesota during those years.

"Fairbanks spins yarns about St. Paul's black society with the flair of a campfire storyteller." --St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Must reading for anyone wanting a clearer understanding of the history of race relations." --Library Journal

"Narrative history at its best." --Choice

"Her prose is simple and concise and is leavened by a rich sense of humor." --Minnesota Monthly

"The Days of Rondo is an interpretive account of events in the life of a black family from the South struggling for survival and meaning in a northern city. Rich in humor and detail, it provides a well-illustrated mosaic of socioeconomic, ethnic, and class realities as seen through the eyes of a young black woman." --David V. Taylor, author of African-Americans in Minnesota

The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion
The Fires of Jubilee
Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion
Paperback      ISBN: 0060916702

The bloody slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Virginia in 1831 and the savage reprisals that followed shattered beyond repair the myth of the contented slave and the benign master, and intensified the forces of change that would plunge America into the bloodbath of the Civil War.

Stephen B. Oates, the acclaimed biographer of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., presents a gripping and insightful account of the rebellion the complex, gifted, and driven man who led it, the social conditions that produced it, and the legacy it left. A classic now newly reissued for the first time in more than twenty years, here is the dramatic re-creation of the turbulent period that marked a crucial turning point in America's history.

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The Search for Order, 1877-1920
The Search for Order, 1877-1920
Paperback      ISBN: 0809001047

At the end of the Reconstruction, the spread of science and technology, industrialism, urbanization, immigration, and economic depressions eroded Americans' conventional beliefs in individualism and a divinely ordained social system. In The Search for Order, Robert Wiebe shows how, in subsequent years, during the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Americans sought the organizing principles around which a new viable social order could be constructed in the modern world. This subtle and sophisticated study combines the virtues of historical narrative, sociological analysis, and social criticism.

Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950
Cannery Women, Cannery Lives
Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950
Paperback      ISBN: 0826309887

Women have been the mainstay of the grueling, seasonal canning industry for over a century. This book is their collective biography--a history of their family and work lives, and of their union. Out of the labor militancy of the 1930s emerged the United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America (UCAPAWA). Quickly it became the seventh largest CIO affiliate and a rare success story of women in unions.

Thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American women working in canneries in southern California established effective, democratic trade union locals run by local members. These rank-and-file activists skillfully managed union affairs, including negotiating such benefits as maternity leave, company-provided day care, and paid vacations--in some cases better benefits than they enjoy today. But by 1951, UCAPAWA lay in ruins--a victim of red baiting in the McCarthy era and of brutal takeover tactics by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787
Miracle at Philadelphia
The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787
Paperback      ISBN: 0316103985
A classic history of the Federal Convention at Philadelphia in 1787, the stormy, dramatic session that produced the most enduring of political documents: the Constitution of the United States.
From Catherine Drinker Bowen, noted American biographer and National Book Award winner, comes the canonical account of the Constitutional Convention recommended as "required reading for every American." Looked at straight from the records, the Federal Convention is startlingly fresh and new, and Mrs. Bowen evokes it as if the reader were actually there, mingling with the delegates, hearing their arguments, witnessing a dramatic moment in history.
Here is the fascinating record of the hot, sultry summer months of debate and decision when ideas clashed and tempers flared. Here is the country as it was then, described by contemporaries, by Berkshire farmers in Massachusetts, by Patrick Henry's Kentucky allies, by French and English travelers. Here, too, are the offstage voices--Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine and John Adams from Europe.
In all, fifty-five men attended; and in spite of the heat, in spite of clashing interests--the big states against the little, the slave states against the anti-slave states--in tension and anxiety that mounted week after week, they wrote out a working plan of government and put their signatures to it.
The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials
The Devil in Massachusetts
A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials
Paperback      ISBN: 0385035098

A history and psychological interpretation of Salem witchcraft in 1692

The Gathering of Zion
The Gathering of Zion
Paperback      ISBN: 0803292139

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner tells about a thousand-mile migration marked by hardship and sudden death-but unique in American history for its purpose, discipline, and solidarity. Other Bison Books by Wallace Stegner include Mormon Country, Recapitulation, Second Growth, and Women on the Wall.

All for the Union: The Civil War Diary & Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes
All for the Union
The Civil War Diary & Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes
Paperback      ISBN: 0679738282
All for the Union is the eloquent and moving diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, featured throughout Ken Burns' PBS documentary The Civil War. Rhodes enlisted into the Union Army as a private in 1861 and left it four years later as a twenty-three-year-old colonel after fighting hard and honorably in battles from Bull Run to Appomattox. Anyone who heard these diaries excerpted in The Civil War will recognize his accounts of those campaigns, which remain outstanding for their clarity and detail. Most of all, Rhodes's words reveal the motivation of a common Yankee foot soldier, an otherwise ordinary young man who endured the rigors of combat and exhausting marches, short rations, fear, and homesickness for a salary of $13 a month and the satisfaction of giving "all for the union."