Book cover of Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives by Siddhartha Kara
Africa

Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives

Cobalt Red is the searing, first-ever exposé of the immense toll taken on the people and environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by cobalt mining, as told through the testimonies of the Congolese people themselves. Activist and researcher Siddharth Kara has traveled deep into cobalt territory to document the testimonies of the people living, working, and dying for cobalt. […Learn More]

Book cover of West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire by Kevin Waite
Civil War

West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire

When American slaveholders looked west in the mid-nineteenth century, they saw an empire unfolding before them. They pursued that vision through diplomacy, migration, and armed conquest. By the late 1850s, slaveholders and their allies had transformed the southwestern quarter of the nation – California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Utah – into a political client of the plantation states. […Learn More]

Book cover of I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War against Reconstruction by Kidada Williams
Civil War

I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War against Reconstruction

From a groundbreaking scholar, a heart-wrenching reexamination of the struggle for survival in the Reconstruction-era South, and what it cost.

The story of Reconstruction is often told from the perspective of the politicians, generals, and journalists whose accounts claim an outsized place in collective memory. But this pivotal era looked very different to African Americans in the South transitioning from bondage to freedom after 1865. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide by Steven W. Thrasher
Health and Psychology

The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide

Having spent a ground-breaking career studying the racialization, policing, and criminalization of HIV, Dr. Thrasher has come to understand a deeper truth at the heart of our society: that there are vast inequalities in who is able to survive viruses and that the ways in which viruses spread, kill, and take their toll are much more dependent on social structures than they are on biology alone. […Learn More]

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]