U.S. History
Featured Items
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
The Power Broker
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Paperback      ISBN: 0394720245

Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the twentieth century, The Power Broker is a huge and galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York in the twentieth century.

Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders knew: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of his time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling the Moses story, Caro both opens up to an unprecedented degree the way in which politics really happens--the way things really get done in America's City Halls and Statehouses--and brings to light a bonanza of vital information about such national figures as Alfred E. Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt (and the genesis of their blood feud), about Fiorello La Guardia, John V. Lindsay and Nelson Rockefeller.

But The Power Broker is first and foremost a brilliant multidimensional portrait of a man--an extraordinary man who, denied power within the normal framework of the democratic process, stepped outside that framework to grasp power sufficient to shape a great city and to hold sway over the very texture of millions of lives. We see how Moses began: the handsome, intellectual young heir to the world of Our Crowd, an idealist. How, rebuffed by the entrenched political establishment, he fought for the power to accomplish his ideals. How he first created a miraculous flowering of parks and parkways, playlands and beaches--and then ultimately brought down on the city the smog-choked aridity of our urban landscape, the endless miles of (never sufficient) highway, the hopeless sprawl of Long Island, the massive failures of public housing, and countless other barriers to humane living. How, inevitably, the accumulation of power became an end in itself.

Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He was held in fear--his dossiers could disgorge the dark secret of anyone who opposed him. He was, he claimed, above politics, above deals; and through decade after decade, the newspapers and the public believed. Meanwhile, he was developing his public authorities into a fourth branch of government known as Triborough--a government whose records were closed to the public, whose policies and plans were decided not by voters or elected officials but solely by Moses--an immense economic force directing pressure on labor unions, on banks, on all the city's political and economic institutions, and on the press, and on the Church. He doled out millions of dollars' worth of legal fees, insurance commissions, lucrative contracts on the basis of who could best pay him back in the only coin he coveted: power. He dominated the politics and politicians of his time--without ever having been elected to any office. He was, in essence, above our democratic system.

Robert Moses held power in the state for 44 years, through the governorships of Smith, Roosevelt, Lehman, Dewey, Harriman and Rockefeller, and in the city for 34 years, through the mayoralties of La Guardia, O'Dwyer, Impellitteri, Wagner and Lindsay, He personally conceived and carried through public works costing 27 billion dollars--he was undoubtedly America's greatest builder.

This is how he built and dominated New York--before, finally, he was stripped of his reputation (by the press) and his power (by Nelson Rockefeller). But his work, and his will, had been done.
Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux
Little Crow
Spokesman for the Sioux
Paperback      ISBN: 0873511964

Government officials and missionaries wanted all Sioux men to become self-sufficient farmers, wear pants, and cut their hair. The Indians, confronted by a land-hungry white population and a loss of hunting grounds, sought to exchange title to their homeland for annuities of cash and food, schools and teachers, and farms and agricultural knowledge. By 1862 the Sioux realized that their extensive kinship network and religion were in jeopardy and that the government would not fulfill its promises.

With their way of life endangered, the Sioux turned to Little Crow to lead them in a war for self-preservation, a war that Little Crow had tried to avoid during most of his adult life. Within a year, the Sioux had been evicted from Minnesota, Little Crow was dead, and a way of life had vanished. Through his life-his biography-the complex interrelationship of Indian and white can be studied and, in some measure, understood.

Sherman's March: The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's Devastating March Through Georgia and the Carolinas
Sherman's March
The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's Devastating March Through Georgia and the Carolinas
Paperback      ISBN: 0394757637

Sherman's March is the vivid narrative of General William T. Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in the closing days of the Civil War. Weaving together hundreds of eyewitness stories, Burke Davis graphically brings to life the dramatic experiences of the 65,000 Federal troops who plundered their way through the South and those of the anguished -- and often defiant -- Confederate women and men who sought to protect themselves and their family treasures, usually in vain. Dominating these events is the general himself -- "Uncle Billy" to his troops, the devil incarnate to the Southerners he encountered.

"What gives this narrative its unusual richness is the author's collation of hundreds of eyewitness accounts...The actions are described in the words, often picturesque and often eloquent, of those who were there, either as participants -- Union soldiers, Confederate soldiers -- in the fighting and destruction or as victims of Sherman's frank vow to 'make Georgia howl.' Mr. Davis intercuts these scenes with closeups of the chief actors in this nightmarish drama, and he also manages to give us a coherent historical account of the whole episode. A powerful illustration of the proposition put forth in Sherman's most famous remark." -- The New Yorker
The Autobiography
The Autobiography
Paperback      ISBN: 0679726136

Famous as a scientist, statesman, philosopher, businessman, and civic leader, Benjamin Franklin was also one of the most powerful and controversial American writers of his time, and has been a subject of intense debate ever since: to Matthew Arnold, he exemplified "victorious good sense"; to D.H. Lawrence, he was "the first dummy American." Franklin's classic Autobiography is his last word on his greatest literary creation -- his own invented persona, the original incarnation of the American success story.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by major American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome and durable paperback books. A distinguished author has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice of the text, and notes.

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 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.

The Alamo and the War of Texan Independence 1835-36
The Alamo and the War of Texan Independence 1835-36
Paperback      ISBN: 0850456843

In 1823 Texas was opened to American settlement; over the next 12 years thousands took advantage of the opportunity. During this time the corrupt Santa Anna rose to power. A dishonest and ruthless politician, thief, compulsive gambler, opium addict and liar, he nevetheless gained a measure of popular support and set about destroying federalism. Conflict with the American settlers ('Texians') became inevitable, a conflict which included the legendary Battle of the Alamo. Philip Haythornwaite covers the story of the War of Texan Independence (1835-1936) in a volume backed by a wealth of illustrations and photographs, including eight full page colour plates by Paul Hannon

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
The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
The Adams-Jefferson Letters
The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
Paperback      ISBN: 0807842303

An intellectual dialogue of the highest plane achieved in America, the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson spanned half a century and embraced government, philosophy, religion, quotidiana, and family griefs and joys. First meeting as delegates to the Continental Congress in 1775, they initiated correspondence in 1777, negotiated jointly as ministers in Europe in the 1780s, and served the early Republic--each, ultimately, in its highest office. At Jefferson's defeat of Adams for the presidency in 1800, they became estranged, and the correspondence lapses from 1801 to 1812, then is renewed until the death of both in 1826, fifty years to the day after the Declaration of Independence.

Lester J. Cappon's edition, first published in 1959 in two volumes, provides the complete correspondence between these two men and includes the correspondence between Abigail Adams and Jefferson. Many of these letters have been published in no other modern edition, nor does any other edition devote itself exclusively to the exchange between Jefferson and the Adamses. Introduction, headnotes, and footnotes inform the reader without interrupting the speakers. This reissue of The Adams-Jefferson Letters in a one-volume unabridged edition brings to a broader audience one of the monuments of American scholarship and, to quote C. Vann Woodward, 'a major treasure of national literature.'

The Era of Reconstruction: 1865-1877
The Era of Reconstruction
1865-1877
Paperback      ISBN: 039470388x

Stampp's classic work offers a revisionist explanation for the radical failure to achieve equality for blacks, and of the effect that Conservative rule had on the subsequent development of the South. Refuting former schools of thought, Stampp challenges the notions that slavery was somehow just a benign aspect of Southern culture, and how the failures during the reconstruction period created a ripple effect that is still seen today.

Praise for The Era of Reconstruction

" . . . This "brief political history of reconstruction" by a well-known Civil War authority is a thoughtful and detailed study of the reconstruction era and the distorted legends still clinging to it."--Kirkus Reviews

"It is to be hoped that this work reaches a large audience, especially among people of influence, and will thus help to dispel some of the myths about Reconstructions that hamper efforts in the civil rights field to this day."--Albert Castel, Western Michigan University