Book cover of The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark
Politics & Government

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy

When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins.

Through a series of disastrous decisions, the state government had switched the city’s water supply to a source that corroded Flint’s aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint, mostly poor and African American, were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War by Nicholas Mulder
Business & Money

The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War

Economic sanctions dominate the landscape of world politics today. First developed in the early twentieth century as a way of exploiting the flows of globalization to defend liberal internationalism, their appeal is that they function as an alternative to war. This view, however, ignores the dark paradox at their core: designed to prevent war, economic sanctions are modeled on devastating techniques of warfare.   […Learn More]

Book cover of Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything - and Endangered the World by Jocelyn Zuckerman
Biological Sciences

Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything – and Endangered the World

Over the past few decades, palm oil has seeped into every corner of our lives. Worldwide, palm oil production has nearly doubled in just the last decade: oil-palm plantations now cover an area nearly the size of New Zealand, and some form of the commodity lurks in half the products on U.S. grocery shelves. But the palm oil revolution has been built on stolen land and slave labor; it’s swept away cultures and so devastated the landscapes of Southeast Asia that iconic animals now teeter on the brink of extinction. Fires lit to clear the way for plantations spew carbon emissions to rival those of industrialized nations. […Learn More]

Book cover of Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding by Hannah Farber
Biography & History

Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding

Unassuming but formidable, American maritime insurers used their position at the pinnacle of global trade to shape the new nation. The international information they gathered and the capital they generated enabled them to play central roles in state building and economic development. During the Revolution, they helped the U.S. negotiate foreign loans, sell state debts, and establish a single national bank. Afterward, they increased their influence by lending money to the federal government and to its citizens. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Eternal Decline and Fall of Rome: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Edward J. Watts
Ancient Civilizations

The Eternal Decline and Fall of Rome: The History of a Dangerous Idea

For more than 2000 years, those wishing to rule Rome and leaders inspired by their example have claimed they, and only they, could restore their society’s past glory and make it great again. They left millions of victims in their wake.

The decline of Rome has been a constant source of discussion for more than 2200 years. Everyone from American journalists in the twenty-first century AD to Roman politicians at the turn of the third century BC have used it as a tool to illustrate the negative consequences of changes in their world. Because Roman history is so long, it provides a buffet of ready-made stories of decline that can help develop the context around any snapshot. […Learn More]

Book cover of From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter by Seamus McGraw
Health and Psychology

From a Taller Tower: The Rise of the American Mass Shooter

We, as a nation, have become desensitized to the shock and pain in the wake of mass shootings. In the bottomless silence between gunshots, as political stalemate ensures inaction, the killing continues; the dying continues. From a Taller Tower attends to the silence that has left us empty in the aftermath of these atrocities. Veteran journalist Seamus McGraw chronicles the rise of the mass shooter to dismantle the myths we have constructed around the murderers and ourselves. […Learn More]

Book cover of Beyond Slavery's Shadow: Free People of Color in the South by Warren Eugene Milteer
History

Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South

On the eve of the Civil War, most people of color in the United States toiled in bondage. Yet nearly half a million of these individuals, including over 250,000 in the South, were free. In Beyond Slavery’s Shadow, Warren Eugene Milteer Jr. draws from a wide array of sources to demonstrate that from the colonial period through the Civil War, the growing influence of white supremacy and proslavery extremism created serious challenges for free persons categorized as “negroes,” “mulattoes,” “mustees,” “Indians,” or simply “free people of color” in the South. Segregation, exclusion, disfranchisement, and discriminatory punishment were ingrained in their collective experiences. […Learn More]

Book cover of Oilcraft: The Myths of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy by Robert Vitalis
Business & Money

Oilcraft: The Myth of Scarcity and Security That Haunt U.S. Energy Policy

A bracing corrective to the myths that have shaped economic, military, and diplomatic policy, dispelling our oil-soaked fantasies of dependence.

There is a conventional wisdom about oil—that the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf is what guarantees access to this strategic resource; that the “special” relationship with Saudi Arabia is necessary to stabilize an otherwise volatile market; and that these assumptions in turn provide Washington enormous leverage over Europe and Asia. Except, the conventional wisdom is wrong. […Learn More]