Book cover of Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood by Cynthia Kierner
Colonial Period

Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood

When hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters strike, we count our losses, search for causes, commiserate with victims, and initiate relief efforts. Amply illustrated and expansively researched, Inventing Disaster explains the origins and development of this predictable, even ritualized, culture of calamity over three centuries, exploring its roots in the revolutions in science, information, and emotion that were part of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America. […Learn More]

Book cover of City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965 by Kelly Lytle Hernández
Law

City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965

Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. This book explains how the City of Angels became the capital city of the world’s leading incarcerator. Marshaling more than two centuries of evidence, historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez unmasks how histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century by Jon Grinspan
History

The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century

There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century–as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks–young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be “violent little partisans,” while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their “virgin votes”—the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood. […Learn More]

Book cover of To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire by Jason W. Smith
History

To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire

As the United States grew into an empire in the late nineteenth century, notions like “sea power” derived not only from fleets, bases, and decisive battles but also from a scientific effort to understand and master the ocean environment. Beginning in the early nineteenth century and concluding in the first years of the twentieth, Jason W. Smith tells the story of the rise of the U.S. Navy and the emergence of American ocean empire through its struggle to control nature. […Learn More]

Book cover of Those Who Know Don't Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State by Garrett Felber
History

Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State

Challenging incarceration and policing was central to the postwar Black Freedom Movement. In this bold new political and intellectual history of the Nation of Islam, Garrett Felber centers the Nation in the Civil Rights Era and the making of the modern carceral state. In doing so, he reveals a multifaceted freedom struggle that focused as much on policing and prisons as on school desegregation and voting rights. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Young Lords: A Radical History by Johanna Fernandez
History

The Young Lords: A Radical History

Against the backdrop of America’s escalating urban rebellions in the 1960s, an unexpected cohort of New York radicals unleashed a series of urban guerrilla actions against the city’s racist policies and contempt for the poor. Their dramatic flair, uncompromising socialist vision for a new society, skillful ability to link local problems to international crises, and uncompromising vision for a new society riveted the media, alarmed New York’s political class, and challenged nationwide perceptions of civil rights and black power protest. The group called itself the Young Lords. […Learn More]

Book cover of Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue by Adrian Miller
Food & Wine

Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue

Across America, the pure love and popularity of barbecue cookery have gone through the roof. Prepared in one regional style or another, in the South and beyond, barbecue is one of the nation’s most distinctive culinary arts. And people aren’t just eating it; they’re also reading books and articles and watching TV shows about it. But why is it, asks Adrian Miller—admitted ‘cuehead and longtime certified barbecue judge—that in today’s barbecue culture African Americans don’t get much love? […Learn More]

Book cover oEmbattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps by Amy Murrell Taylor
Civil War

Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps

The Civil War was just days old when the first enslaved men, women, and children began fleeing their plantations to seek refuge inside the lines of the Union army as it moved deep into the heart of the Confederacy. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands more followed in a mass exodus from slavery that would destroy the system once and for all. Drawing on an extraordinary survey of slave refugee camps throughout the country, Embattled Freedom reveals as never before the everyday experiences of these refugees from slavery as they made their way through the vast landscape of army-supervised camps that emerged during the war. […Learn More]