United States History, Regional
Featured Items
Blue Ribbon: A Social and Pictorial History of the State Fair
Blue Ribbon
A Social and Pictorial History of the State Fair
Paperback      ISBN: 0873512529

More than 300 black-and-white illustrations vividly portray the fair and its many faces. Historic photographs show long-gone amusements-the wooden Cannon Ball roller coaster, an organ grinder and his monkey, reenactments of famous battles at the Grandstand-as well as early versions of fair scenes that know no era: crowds, traffic jams, trinket sellers, prize winners. Reproductions of advertisements, posters, ribbons, lapel pins, and newspaper cartoons give a glimpse of the cheerful hype of promoters and the tongue-in-cheek commentary that accompanied their efforts. And contemporary photographs capture the fair's varied moods and scenes, from the early-morning preparations in a church dining hall through the stresses and joys of showing animals, the thrill of the Midway, the lure of deep-fried foods, and the excitement of being crowned a queen, to the clean-up of tons of garbage in the night's wee hours.

Along with the glitter and the fun, the Minnesota State Fair has always been a microcosm of midwestern life. Almost 150 years of cultural, social, aesthetic, economic, and technological change have left their mark on the venerable institution. And, at the same time, the fair has made its mark on society-urban as well as rural. Displays of women's work or farm machinery, the fine arts or the prize bull-all have been part of the fair's dual mission of education and entertainment. Each of Blue Ribbon's chapters focuses on one such topic, showing how the state fair grew and responded to prevailing tastes and conditions-and how it sometimes acted as a powerful agent of change.

Art and architecture, politics, social movements, and agricultural history are all part of this story-along with the dimensions of giant radishes, the memories of early fairgoers, and a listing of the calories in favorite state fair foods. Like the fair itself, this book offers something for everyone. Here are the sights, if not the smells and sounds, of "The World's Greatest State Fair."

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 Johnstown Flood
The Johnstown Flood
Paperback      ISBN: 0671207148

The stunning story of one of America's great disasters, a preventable tragedy of Gilded Age America, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel tow
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.

The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Reissued Edition
The Evidence of Things Not Seen
Reissued Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 0805039392

One of America's most important writers takes on the arrest of Wayne Bertram Williams for the murder of twenty-eight black children in Atlanta to offer this searing indictment of the nation's racial stagnation.

This edition of James Baldwin's classic work offers a new foreword by Derrick Bell (with Janet Dewart Bell), and is as meaningful today as it was when it was first published in 1985.

In his searing and moving essay, James Baldwin explores the Atlanta child murders that took place over a period of twenty-two months in 1979 and 1980. Examining this incident with a reporter's skill and an essayist's insight, he notes the significance of Atlanta as the site of these brutal killings--a city that claimed to be "too busy to hate"--and the permeation of race throughout the case: the black administration in Atlanta; the murdered black children; and Wayne Williams, the black man tried for the crimes.

Rummaging through the ruins of American race relations, Baldwin addresses all the hard-to-face issues that have brought us a moment in history where it is terrifying to to be a black child in white America, and where, too often, public officials fail to ask real questions about "justice for all." Baldwin takes a time-specific event and makes it timeless: The Evidence of Things Not Seen offers an incisive look at race in America through a lens at once disturbing and profoundly revealing.

Leaning Into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West
Leaning Into the Wind
Women Write from the Heart of the West
Paperback      ISBN: 0395901316

Gathers true stories, poems, and reflections about Western life

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

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.
The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City
The Mole People
Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City
Paperback      ISBN: 155652241x

Thousands of people live in the subway, railroad, and sewage tunnels that form the bowels of New York City and this book is about them, the so-called mole people. They live alone and in communities, in subway tunnels and below subway platforms and this fascinating study presents how and why people move underground, who they are, and what they have to say about their lives and the "topside" world they've left behind.

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia
Salvation on Sand Mountain
Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia
Paperback      ISBN: 0140254587

A journalist describes an assignment in the mountains of Alabama which led to his spiritual journey into the world of holiness snake handling, a faith whose followers characteristically place themselves in life-threatening situations. Reprint. Tour. NYT.