Book cover of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism by J. P. Daughton
Africa

In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism

The epic story of the Congo-Océan railroad and the human costs and contradictions of modern empire.

The Congo-Océan railroad stretches across the Republic of Congo from Brazzaville to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noir. It was completed in 1934, when Equatorial Africa was a French colony, and it stands as one of the deadliest construction projects in history. Colonial workers were subjects of an ostensibly democratic nation whose motto read “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” but liberal ideals were savaged by a cruelly indifferent administrative state. […Learn More]

Book cover of Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernandez
Americas

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

“Rebel historian” Kelly Lytle Hernández reframes our understanding of U.S. history in this groundbreaking narrative of revolution in the borderlands.

Bad Mexicans tells the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels who sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution from the United States. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, and more, who organized thousands of Mexican workers—and American dissidents—to their cause. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire by Henrietta Harrison
Asia

The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire 

An impressive new history of China’s relations with the West—told through the lives of two language interpreters who participated in the famed Macartney embassy in 1793

The 1793 British embassy to China, which led to Lord George Macartney’s fraught encounter with the Qianlong emperor, has often been viewed as a clash of cultures fueled by the East’s disinterest in the West. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe by Mark Mazower
Europe

The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe

From one of our leading historians, an important new history of the Greek War of Independence—the ultimate worldwide liberal cause célèbre of the age of Byron, Europe’s first nationalist uprising, and the beginning of the downward spiral of the Ottoman Empire—published two hundred years after its outbreak […Learn More]

Book cover of Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern by Jing Tsu
Asia

Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern

After a meteoric rise, China today is one of the world’s most powerful nations. Just a century ago, it was a crumbling empire with literacy reserved for the elite few, as the world underwent a massive technological transformation that threatened to leave them behind. In Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu argues that China’s most daunting challenge was a linguistic one: the century-long fight to make the formidable Chinese language accessible to the modern world of global trade and digital technology. […Learn More]

Book cover of Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union by V. M. Zubok
Biography & History

Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union 

A major study of the collapse of the Soviet Union—showing how Gorbachev’s misguided reforms led to its demise

In 1945 the Soviet Union controlled half of Europe and was a founding member of the United Nations. By 1991, it had an army four-million strong, five-thousand nuclear-tipped missiles, and was the second biggest producer of oil in the world. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes, Chinese Migration, and Global Politics by Mae Ngai
Africa

The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes, Chinese Migration, and Global Politics: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics

How Chinese migration to the world’s goldfields upended global power and economics and forged modern conceptions of race.

In roughly five decades, between 1848 and 1899, more gold was removed from the earth than had been mined in the 3,000 preceding years, bringing untold wealth to individuals and nations. But friction between Chinese and white settlers on the goldfields of California, Australia, and South Africa catalyzed a global battle over “the Chinese Question”: would the United States and the British Empire outlaw Chinese immigration? […Learn More]

Book cover of Cuba: An American History by Ada Ferrer
Americas

Cuba: An American History

In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, where a momentous revolution had taken power three years earlier. For more than half a century, the stand-off continued—through the tenure of ten American presidents and the fifty-year rule of Fidel Castro. His death in 2016, and the retirement of his brother and successor Raúl Castro in 2021, have spurred questions about the country’s future. Meanwhile, politics in Washington—Barack Obama’s opening to the island, Donald Trump’s reversal of that policy, and the election of Joe Biden—have made the relationship between the two nations a subject of debate once more. […Learn More]

Book cover of Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate by M. E. Sarotte
Eastern Europe

Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate

Based on over a hundred interviews and on secret records of White House–Kremlin contacts, Not One Inch shows how the United States successfully overcame Russian resistance in the 1990s to expand NATO to more than 900 million people. But it also reveals how Washington’s hardball tactics transformed the era between the Cold War and the present day, undermining what could have become a lasting partnership. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains by Thomas Laqueur
History

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains

The meaning of our concern for mortal remains―from antiquity through the twentieth century

The Greek philosopher Diogenes said that when he died his body should be tossed over the city walls for beasts to scavenge. Why should he or anyone else care what became of his corpse? In The Work of the Dead, acclaimed cultural historian Thomas Laqueur examines why humanity has universally rejected Diogenes’s argument. No culture has been indifferent to mortal remains. […Learn More]