Book cover of The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915 by Jon Grinspan
History

The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew our highest-ever voter turnouts. At the century’s end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans’ voting rates crashed and never fully recovered. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams, and Their Clash Over America's Future by Neil Lanctot
History

The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams, and Their Clash Over America’s Future

The fascinating story of how the three most influential American progressives of the early twentieth century split over America’s response to World War I.

In the early years of the twentieth century, the most famous Americans on the national stage were Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Jane Addams: two presidents and a social worker. Each took a different path to prominence, yet the three progressives believed the United States must assume a more dynamic role in confronting the growing domestic and international problems of an exciting new age. […Learn More]

Book cover of From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West by John Sedgwick
Engineering & Transportation

From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West 

A propulsive and panoramic history of one of the most dramatic stories never told—the greatest railroad war of all time, fought by the daring leaders of the Santa Fe and the Rio Grande to seize, control, and create the American West.

It is difficult to imagine now, but for all its gorgeous scenery, the American West might have been barren tundra as far as most Americans knew well into the 19th century. While the West was advertised as a paradise on earth to citizens in the East and Midwest, many believed the journey too hazardous to be worthwhile—until 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad changed the face of transportation.
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Book cover of Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World by Scott Reynolds Nelson
Biography & History

Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World

To understand the rise and fall of empires, we must follow the paths traveled by grain—along rivers, between ports, and across seas. In Oceans of Grain, historian Scott Reynolds Nelson reveals how the struggle to dominate these routes transformed the balance of world power. […Learn More]