History

Becoming FDR: The Personal Crisis That Made a President by Jonathan Darman - Book Review

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$32.00
ISBN: 9781400067077
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House - September 6th, 2022

Franklin Roosevelt's life of privilege and pleasure crashed when he contracted polio at 39. Darman superbly illuminates how FDR's painful ordeal not only failed to shatter his natural buoyancy, but awakened an empathy for suffering which fostered his great achievement of lifting the nation out of the Great Depression. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard - Book Review

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$17.95
ISBN: 9781631492228
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Published: Liveright - September 6th, 2016

SPQR offers the rare opportunity to not only learn about the stunning evolution and expansion of Ancient Rome, but to be thoroughly entertained in the process. Hundreds of charismatic characters fill these pages, from the problematic, like Caesar, to the humble Romans who would be just as happy hanging out in a bar. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman - Book Review

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$26.99
ISBN: 9781728245959
Availability: Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Sourcebooks - July 12th, 2022

Most people would consider Tony Costa a monster. Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut both saw him as an opportunity. Costa was a charismatic manipulator, who sustained his jumbled life by selling drugs and serving as a paid informer for the local police in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He emerged as the chief suspect in a series of grisly murders of young women, whose dismembered bodies were discovered in an isolated section of woods on Cape Cod. Mailer was haunted by the idea that Costa's cult-like followers would harm his family after he showed an interest in writing about the case. Vonnegut, also a Provincetown resident, was finally beginning to enjoy success and believed that the brutal killings would make a compelling follow-up to "Slaughterhouse-Five." "Hell Town" is an unsparing trek into the mind of a twisted, merciless killer and the efforts by two literary giants to venture down a dark and dangerous path and enter into it. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning by Ben Raines - Book Review

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$27.99
ISBN: 9781982136048
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Published: Simon & Schuster - January 25th, 2022

In 2018, river guide Ben Raines plunged into Mobile Bay's desolate swamp waterways in pursuit of a mystery. His recovery that day of a sodden worn plank bearing rusted handmade nails made possible the eventual identification of the legendary 1860 Clotilda schooner known to local residents as the last slave ship to import African slaves to America. Clotilda's identification would garner international attention. She symbolized the countless voyages preceding it and the centuries old brutal practices integral to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Raines' important book highlights the previous scholarship surrounding this particular voyage, the discovery of the vessel, and the story of the human cargo forced into the hold, their post-Civil War lives, communities and descendants. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker


What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party by Michael Kazin - Book Review

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$35.00
ISBN: 9780374200237
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 1st, 2022

Today's Democratic Party is a far cry from its 19th Century variety: a racist, sexist, anti-elitist bastion for working-class whites. Kazin engagingly describes the events and personalities that transformed the party, along with the many bumps on the road to progress. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern by Mary Beard - Book Review

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$35.00
ISBN: 9780691222363
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Published: Princeton University Press - October 12th, 2021

The brilliant Mary Beard's Twelve Caesars examines both how autocratic rule was presented contemporaneously in the visual rhetoric of Ancient Rome (Julius Caesar was literally the first person to come up with putting a ruler's face on the coinage; each emperor exporting his visage in mass production throughout the empire) and how the images of Roman emperors have been consistently used from the Middle Ages to the present in not only art but also in more maligned genres like engraving, plateware, chair backing, political caricatures of a politician with lyre and flames in the background etc. Beard moves from the Roman biographer and gossip Suetonius and the ancient anonymous portrait busts of emperors and “emperors” to Medieval stained glass, from Titian & Rubens to the reception of particular works (a massive “imperial” sarcophagus in which Andrew Jackson refused to be buried), to the African-American sculptor Edmonia Lewis. Twelve Caesars is as much about Roman emperors as it is about the history and practice of identifying or misidentifying them, about how their iconography has lasted two millennia, and how they mean power. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


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