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History

Fifth Act

Fifth Act

Ackerman, Elliot
$27.00
A powerful and revelatory eyewitness account of the American collapse in Afghanistan, its desperate endgame, and the war's echoing legacy

Elliot Ackerman left the American military ten years ago, but his time in Afghanistan and Iraq with the Marines and later as a CIA paramilitary officer marked him indelibly. When the Taliban began to close in on Kabul in August 2021 and the Afghan regime began its death spiral, he found himself pulled back into the conflict. Afghan nationals who had worked closely with the American military and intelligence communities for years now faced brutal reprisal and sought frantically to flee the country with their families. The official US government evacuation effort was a bureaucratic failure that led to a humanitarian catastrophe. With former colleagues and friends protecting the airport in Kabul, Ackerman joined an impromptu effort by a group of journalists and other veterans to arrange flights and negotiate with both Taliban and American forces to secure the safe evacuation of hundreds. These were desperate measures taken during a desperate end to America's longest war. For Ackerman, it also became a chance to reconcile his past with his present.

The Fifth Act is an astonishing human document that brings the weight of twenty years of war to bear on a single week, the week the war ended. Using the dramatic rescue efforts in Kabul as his lattice, Ackerman weaves a personal history of the war's long progression, beginning with the initial invasion in the months after 9/11. It is a play in five acts, the fifth act being the story's tragic denouement, a prelude to Afghanistan's dark future. Any reader who wants to understand what went wrong with the war's trajectory will find a trenchant account here. But The Fifth Act also brings readers into close contact with a remarkable group of characters, American and Afghan, who fought the war with courage and dedication, and at great personal cost. Ackerman's story is a first draft of history that feels like a timeless classic.

In the Houses of Their Dead

In the Houses of Their Dead

Alford, Terry
$27.95

In the 1820s, two families, unknown to each other, worked on farms in the American wilderness. It seemed unlikely that the families would ever meet--and yet, they did. The son of one family, the famed actor John Wilkes Booth, killed the son of the other, President Abraham Lincoln, in the most significant assassination in American history. The murder, however, did not come without warning--in fact, it had been foretold.

In the Houses of Their Dead is the first book of the many thousands written about Lincoln to focus on the president's fascination with Spiritualism, and to demonstrate how it linked him, uncannily, to the man who would kill him. Abraham Lincoln is usually seen as a rational, empirically-minded man, yet as acclaimed scholar and biographer Terry Alford reveals, he was also deeply superstitious and drawn to the irrational. Like millions of other Americans, including the Booths, Lincoln and his wife, Mary, suffered repeated personal tragedies, and turned for solace to Spiritualism, a new practice sweeping the nation that held that the dead were nearby and could be contacted by the living. Remarkably, the Lincolns and the Booths even used the same mediums, including Charles Colchester, a specialist in "blood writing" whom Mary first brought to her husband, and who warned the president after listening to the ravings of another of his clients, John Wilkes Booth.

Alford's expansive, richly-textured chronicle follows the two families across the nineteenth century, uncovering new facts and stories about Abraham and Mary while drawing indelible portraits of the Booths--from patriarch Julius, a famous actor in his own right, to brother Edwin, the most talented member of the family and a man who feared peacock feathers, to their confidant Adam Badeau, who would become, strangely, the ghostwriter for President Ulysses S. Grant. At every turn, Alford shows that despite the progress of the age--the glass hypodermic syringe, electromagnetic induction, and much more--death remained ever-present, and thus it was only rational for millions of Americans, from the president on down, to cling to beliefs that seem anything but. A novelistic narrative of two exceptional American families set against the convulsions their times, In the Houses of Their Dead ultimately leads us to consider how ghost stories helped shape the nation.

Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses

Andersen, Kurt
$18.00
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - When did America give up on fairness? The author of Fantasyland tells the epic history of how America decided that big business gets whatever it wants, only the rich get richer, and nothing should ever change--and charts a way back to the future.

"Essential, absorbing . . . a graceful, authoritative guide . . . a radicalized moderate's moderate case for radical change."--The New York Times Book Review

During the twentieth century, America managed to make its economic and social systems both more and more fair and more and more prosperous. A huge, secure, and contented middle class emerged. All boats rose together. But then the New Deal gave way to the Raw Deal. Beginning in the early 1970s, by means of a long war conceived of and executed by a confederacy of big business CEOs, the superrich, and right-wing zealots, the rules and norms that made the American middle class possible were undermined and dismantled. The clock was turned back on a century of economic progress, making greed good, workers powerless, and the market all-powerful while weaponizing nostalgia, lifting up an oligarchy that served only its own interests, and leaving the huge majority of Americans with dwindling economic prospects and hope.

Why and how did America take such a wrong turn? In this deeply researched and brilliantly woven cultural, economic, and political chronicle, Kurt Andersen offers a fresh, provocative, and eye-opening history of America's undoing, naming names, showing receipts, and unsparingly assigning blame--to the radical right in economics and the law, the high priests of high finance, a complacent and complicit Establishment, and liberal "useful idiots," among whom he includes himself.

Only a writer with Andersen's crackling energy, deep insight, and ability to connect disparate dots and see complex systems with clarity could make such a book both intellectually formidable and vastly entertaining. And only a writer of Andersen's vision could reckon with our current high-stakes inflection point, and show the way out of this man-made disaster.

Egyptian Book of the Dead

Egyptian Book of the Dead

Anon
$29.99
The classic text describing Ancient Egyptian beliefs about death and the afterlife, presented in a high-quality, Chinese-bound format.

Ancient Egyptians imagined the afterlife as a kind of journey you had to make to get to paradise. It was quite hazardous, so you needed help along the way. Spells and magic formulas written on papyrus were placed in coffins and burial chambers in order to protect and aid the deceased in duat, or the underworld. These funerary texts were developed over many centuries into individualized collections known as the Book of the Dead. One of the best-known versions, the Papyrus of Ani, is featured here. Some 192 spells are known, although no single manuscript contains them all. The spells are designed to give the dead mystical knowledge in the afterlife, offer incantations to help preserve different parts of the deceased, and protect the dead from hostile forces. Some of the spells are to make sure you can control your own body after death. Presented in a high-quality format with accompanying illustrations, The Egyptian Book of the Dead is an ideal resource of esoteric wisdom for anyone interested in Ancient Egyptian notions of death and the path to the afterlife.

To Rescue the Republic

To Rescue the Republic

Baier, Bret
$18.99

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Fox News Channel's Chief Political Anchor illuminates the heroic life of Ulysses S. Grant

To Rescue the Republic is narrative history at its absolute finest. A fast-paced, thrilling and enormously important book. --Douglas Brinkley

An epic history spanning the battlegrounds of the Civil War and the violent turmoil of Reconstruction to the forgotten electoral crisis that nearly fractured a reunited nation, Bret Baier's To Rescue the Republic dramatically reveals Ulysses S. Grant's essential yet underappreciated role in preserving the United States during an unprecedented period of division.

Born a tanner's son in rugged Ohio in 1822 and battle-tested by the Mexican American War, Grant met his destiny on the bloody fields of the Civil War. His daring and resolve as a general gained the attention of President Lincoln, then desperate for bold leadership. Lincoln appointed Grant as Lieutenant General of the Union Army in March 1864. Within a year, Grant's forces had seized Richmond and forced Robert E. Lee to surrender.

Four years later, the reunified nation faced another leadership void after Lincoln's assassination and an unworthy successor completed his term. Again, Grant answered the call. At stake once more was the future of the Union, for though the Southern states had been defeated, it remained to be seen if the former Confederacy could be reintegrated into the country--and if the Union could ensure the rights and welfare of African Americans in the South. Grant met the challenge by boldly advancing an agenda of Reconstruction and aggressively countering the Ku Klux Klan.

In his final weeks in the White House, however, Grant faced a crisis that threatened to undo his life's work. The contested presidential election of 1876 produced no clear victory for either Republican Rutherford B. Hayes or Democrat Samuel Tilden, who carried most of the former Confederacy. Soon Southern states vowed to revolt if Tilden was not declared the victor. Grant was determined to use his influence to preserve the Union, establishing an electoral commission to peaceably settle the issue. Grant brokered a grand bargain: the installation of Republican Hayes to the presidency, with concessions to the Democrats that effectively ended Reconstruction. This painful compromise saved the nation, but tragically condemned the South to another century of civil-rights oppression.

Deep with contemporary resonance and brimming with fresh detail that takes readers from the battlefields of the Civil War to the corridors of power where men decided the fate of the nation in back rooms, To Rescue the Republic reveals Grant, for all his complexity, to be among the first rank of American heroes.

Castle in Wartime

Castle in Wartime

Bailey, Catherine
$18.00
I was gripped by A Castle in Wartime--it contained more tension, more plot in fact--than any thriller.--Kate Atkinson, author of Big Sky and Case Histories

An enthralling story of one family's extraordinary courage and resistance amidst the horrors of war from the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Rooms.

As war swept across Europe in 1940, the idyllic life of Fey von Hassell seemed a world away from the conflict. The daughter of Ulrich von Hassell, Hitler's Ambassador to Italy, her marriage to Italian aristocrat Detalmo Pirzio-Biroli brought with it a castle and an estate in the north of Italy. Beautiful and privileged, Fey and her two young sons lead a tranquil life undisturbed by the trauma and privations of war. But with Fascism approaching its zenith, Fey's peaceful existence is threatened when Ulrich and Detalmo take the brave and difficult decision to resist the Nazis.

When German soldiers pour over the Italian border, Fey is suddenly marooned in the Nazi-occupied north and unable to communicate with her husband, who has joined the underground anti-Fascist movement in Rome. Before long, SS soldiers have taken up occupancy in the castle. As Fey struggles to maintain an air of warm welcome to her unwanted guests, the clandestine activities of both her father and husband become increasingly brazen and openly rebellious. Darkness descends when Ulrich's foiled plot to kill the Fuhrer brings the Gestapo to Fey's doorstep. It would be months before Detalmo learns that his wife had been arrested and his two young boys seized by the SS.

Suffused with Catherine Bailey's signature atmospheric prose, A Castle in Wartime tells the unforgettable story of the extraordinary bravery and fortitude of one family who collectively and individually sacrificed everything to resist the Nazis from within. Bailey's unprecedented access to stunning first-hand family accounts, along with records from concentration camps and surviving SS files, make this a dazzling and compulsively readable book, opening a view on the cost and consequences of resistance.

Accidental President

Baime, A. J.
$17.99
Divider

Divider

Baker, Peter
$30.00
The inside story of the four years when Donald Trump went to war with Washington, from the chaotic beginning to the violent finale, told by revered journalists Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker--an ambitious and lasting history of the full Trump presidency that also contains dozens of exclusive scoops and stories from behind the scenes in the White House, from the absurd to the deadly serious.

The bestselling authors of The Man Who Ran Washington argue that Trump was not just lurching from one controversy to another; he was learning to be more like the foreign autocrats he admired.

The Divider brings us into the Oval Office for countless scenes both tense and comical, revealing how close we got to nuclear war with North Korea, which cabinet members had a resignation pact, whether Trump asked Japan's prime minister to nominate him for a Nobel Prize and much more. The book also explores the moral choices confronting those around Trump--how they justified working for a man they considered unfit for office, and where they drew their lines.

The Divider is based on unprecedented access to key players, from President Trump himself to cabinet officers, military generals, close advisers, Trump family members, congressional leaders, foreign officials and others, some of whom have never told their story until now.

History of the World in 100 Animals

History of the World in 100 Animals

Barnes, Simon
$39.95
Fully illustrated in color, a fascinating exploration of the one hundred animals that have had the most profound influence on humanity throughout the ages.

We are not alone. We are not alone on the planet. We are not alone in the countryside. We are not alone in cities. We are not alone in our homes. We are humans and we love the idea of our uniqueness. But the fact is that we humans are as much members of the animal kingdom as the cats and dogs we surround ourselves with, the cows and the fish we eat, and the bees who pollinate so many of our food-plants.

In The History of the World in 100 Animals, award-winning author Simon Barnes selects the one hundred animals who have had the greatest impact on humanity and on whom humanity has had the greatest effect. He shows how we have domesticated animals for food and for transport, and how animals powered agriculture, making civilisation possible. A species of flea came close to destroying human civilisation in Europe, while the slaughter of a species of bovines was used to create one civilisation and destroy another. He explains how pigeons made possible the biggest single breakthrough in the history of human thought. In short, he charts the close relationship between humans and animals, finding examples from around the planet that bring the story of life on earth vividly to life, with great insight and understanding.

The heresy of human uniqueness has led us across the millennia along the path of destruction. This book, beautifully illustrated throughout, helps us to understand our place in the world better, so that we might do a better job of looking after it. That might save the polar bears, the modern emblem of impending loss and destruction. It might even save ourselves.

James says: An intoxicating look at the relationships between Humans and Animals over time from both of their perspectives, and how it has altered one another and the planet. A great way to learn more about history, nature, and mythology. Filled with amazing Illustrations and paintings. Each chapter is its own discovery.

Faster

Faster

Bascomb, Neal
$16.99

Winner of the Motor Press Guild Best Book of the Year Award & Dean Batchelor Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism

For fans of The Boys in the Boat and In the Garden of Beasts, a pulse-pounding tale of triumph by an improbable team of upstarts over Hitler's fearsome Silver Arrows during the golden age of auto racing

As Nazi Germany launched its campaign of racial terror and pushed the world toward war, three unlikely heroes--a driver banned from the best European teams because of his Jewish heritage, the owner of a faltering automaker company, and the adventurous daughter of an American multimillionaire--banded together to challenge Hitler's dominance at the Grand Prix, the apex of motorsport. Bringing to life this glamorous era and the sport that defined it, Faster chronicles one of the most inspiring, death-defying upsets of all time: a symbolic blow against the Nazis during history's darkest hour.