Book cover of Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History by Lea Ypi
Biography & Autobiography

Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History

A reflection on “freedom” in a dramatic, beautifully written memoir of the end of Communism in the Balkans.

For precocious 11-year-old Lea Ypi, Albania’s Soviet-style socialism held the promise of a preordained future, a guarantee of security among enthusiastic comrades. That is, until she found herself clinging to a stone statue of Joseph Stalin, newly beheaded by student protests. […Learn More]

Book cover of If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore
Biography & History

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future

A revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad, algorithmic twenty-first century, from the author of the acclaimed international bestseller These Truths.

The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge—decades before Facebook, Google, and Cambridge Analytica. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives and set out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost backstory to the methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World by Linda Colley
History

The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World

Vivid and magisterial, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen reconfigures the rise of a modern world through the advent and spread of written constitutions.

A work of extraordinary range and striking originality, The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen traces the global history of written constitutions from the 1750s to the twentieth century, modifying accepted narratives and uncovering the close connections between the making of constitutions and the making of war. In the process, Linda Colley both reappraises famous constitutions and recovers those that have been marginalized but were central to the rise of a modern world. […Learn More]

Health and Psychology

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story

For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19. […Learn More]

History

War: How Conflict Shaped Us

The instinct to fight may be innate in human nature, but war—organized violence—comes with organized society. War has shaped humanity’s history, its social and political institutions, its values and ideas. Our very language, our public spaces, our private memories, and some of our greatest cultural treasures reflect the glory and the misery of war. War is an uncomfortable and challenging subject not least because it brings out both the vilest and the noblest aspects of humanity.  […Learn More]

Biography & History

Crashed: How Decades of Financial Crises Changed the World

From a prizewinning economic historian, an eye-opening reinterpretation of the 2008 economic crisis (and its ten-year aftermath) as a global event that directly led to the shockwaves being felt around the world today.

We live in a world where dramatic shifts in the domestic and global economy command the headlines, from rollbacks in US banking regulations to tariffs that may ignite international trade wars. […Learn More]

Fiction

V2: A novel of World War II

From the best-selling author of Fatherland and Munich comes a WWII thriller about a German rocket engineer, a former actress turned British spy, and the Nazi rocket program.

Rudi Graf is an engineer who always dreamed of sending rockets to the moon. But instead, he finds himself working alongside Wernher von Braun, launching V2 rockets at London for the Nazis from a bleak seaside town in occupied Holland. As the SS increases its scrutiny on the project, Graf, an engineer more than a sol – dier, has to muster all of his willpower to toe the party line. And when rumors of a defector circulate through the German ranks, Graf be – comes a prime suspect.  […Learn More]

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century by Thant Myint - U
Asia

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century

Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma’s population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster, and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders such as Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable. […Learn More]

Asia

Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914 – 1948

 Opening in July 1914, as Mohandas Gandhi leaves South Africa to return to India, Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1918 traces the Mahatma’s life over the three decades preceding his assassination. Drawing on new archival materials, acclaimed historian Ramachandra Guha follows Gandhi’s struggle to deliver India from British rule, to forge harmonious relations between India’s Hindus and Muslims, to end the pernicious practice of untouchability, and to nurture India’s economic and moral self-reliance. […Learn More]