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History

Absolute Power

Absolute Power

$28.00
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The sensational story of the last two centuries of the papacy, its most influential pontiffs, troubling doctrines, and rise in global authority

In 1799, the papacy was at rock bottom: The Papal States had been swept away and Rome seized by the revolutionary French armies. With cardinals scattered across Europe and the next papal election uncertain, even if Catholicism survived, it seemed the papacy was finished.
In this gripping narrative of religious and political history, Paul Collins tells the improbable success story of the last 220 years of the papacy, from the unexalted death of Pope Pius VI in 1799 to the celebrity of Pope Francis today. In a strange contradiction, as the papacy has lost its physical power -- its armies and states -- and remained stubbornly opposed to the currents of social and scientific consensus, it has only increased its influence and political authority in the world.

Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War

Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War

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In Absolute War, acclaimed historian and journalist Chris Bellamy crafts the first full account since the fall of the Soviet Union of World War II's battle on the Eastern Front, one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

The conflict on the Eastern Front, fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany between 1941 and 1945, was the greatest, most costly, and most brutal conflict on land in human history. It was arguably the single most decisive factor of the war, and shaped the postwar world as we know it. In this magisterial work, Bellamy outlines the lead-up to the war, in which the fragile alliance between the two dictators was unceremoniously broken, and examines its far-reaching consequences, arguing that the cost of victory was ultimately too much for the Soviet Union to bear. With breadth of scope and a surfeit of new information, this is the definitive history of a conflict whose reverberations are still felt today.

Abyss

Abyss

$35.00
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Bestselling author Max Hastings offers a welcome re-evaluation of one of the most gripping and tense international events in modern history--the Cuban Missile Crisis--providing a people-focused narrative that explores the attitudes and conduct of Russians, Cubans, Americans, and a terrified world that followed each moment as it unfolded.

In The Abyss, Max Hastings turns his focus to one of the most terrifying events of the mid-twentieth century--the thirteen days in October 1962 when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. Hastings looks at the conflict with fresh eyes, focusing on the people at the heart of the crisis--America President John F. Kennedy, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, and a host of their advisors.

Combining in-depth research with Hasting's well-honed insights, The Abyss is a human history that unfolds on a wide, colorful canvas. As the action moves back and forth from Moscow to Washington, DC, to Havana, Hastings seeks to explain, as much as to describe, the attitudes and conduct of the Soviets, Cubans, and Americans, and to recreate the tension and heightened fears of countless innocent bystanders whose lives hung in the balance. Reflecting on the outcome of these events, he reveals how the aftermath of this momentous crisis continues to reverberate today.

Powerful, and riveting, filled with compelling detail and told with narrative flair, The Abyss is history at its finest.

Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century History

Acadian Diaspora: An Eighteenth-Century History

$34.95
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Late in 1755, an army of British regulars and Massachusetts volunteers completed one of the cruelest, most successful military campaigns in North American history, capturing and deporting seven thousand French-speaking Catholic Acadians from the province of Nova Scotia, and chasing an equal
number into the wilderness of eastern Canada. Thousands of Acadians endured three decades of forced migrations and failed settlements that shuttled them to the coasts of South America, the plantations of the Caribbean, the frigid islands of the South Atlantic, the swamps of Louisiana, and the
countryside of central France.

The Acadian Diaspora tells their extraordinary story in full for the first time, illuminating a long-forgotten world of imperial desperation, experimental colonies, and naked brutality. Using documents culled from archives in France, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, Christopher Hodson
reconstructs the lives of Acadian exiles as they traversed oceans and continents, pushed along by empires eager to populate new frontiers with inexpensive, pliable white farmers. Hodson's compelling narrative situates the Acadian diaspora within the dramatic geopolitical changes triggered by the
Seven Years' War. Faced with redrawn boundaries and staggering national debts, imperial architects across Europe used the Acadians to realize radical plans: tropical settlements without slaves, expeditions to the unknown southern continent, and, perhaps strangest of all, agricultural colonies within
old regime France itself. In response, Acadians embraced their status as human commodities, using intimidation and even violence to tailor their communities to the superheated Atlantic market for cheap, mobile labor.

Through vivid, intimate stories of Acadian exiles and the diverse, transnational cast of characters that surrounded them, The Acadian Diaspora presents the eighteenth-century Atlantic world from a new angle, challenging old assumptions about uprooted peoples and the very nature of early modern
empire.

Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans

Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans

$21.00
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This is the story of a city that shouldn't exist. In the seventeenth century, what is now America's most beguiling metropolis was nothing more than a swamp: prone to flooding, infested with snakes, battered by hurricanes. But through the intense imperial rivalries of Spain, France, and England, and the ambitious, entrepreneurial merchants and settlers from four continents who risked their lives to succeed in colonial America, this unpromising site became a crossroads for the whole Atlantic world.

Lawrence N. Powell, a decades-long resident and observer of New Orleans, gives us the full sweep of the city's history from its founding through Louisiana statehood in 1812. We see the Crescent City evolve from a French village, to an African market town, to a Spanish fortress, and finally to an Anglo-American center of trade and commerce. We hear and feel the mix of peoples, religions, and languages from four continents that make the place electric-and always on the verge of unraveling. The Accidental City is the story of land-jobbing schemes, stock market crashes, and nonstop squabbles over status, power, and position, with enough rogues, smugglers, and self-fashioners to fill a picaresque novel.

Powell's tale underscores the fluidity and contingency of the past, revealing a place where people made their own history. This is a city, and a history, marked by challenges and perpetual shifts in shape and direction, like the sinuous river on which it is perched.

Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977

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Remarkably insightful . . . A groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate . . . It soars.--The New York Times Book Review

In The Accidental Empire, Gershom Gorenberg examines the strange birth of the settler movement in the ten years following the Six-Day War and finds that it was as much the child of Labor Party socialism as of religious extremism. The giants of Israeli history--Dayan, Meir, Eshkol, Allon--all played major roles in this drama, as did more contemporary figures like Sharon, Rabin, and Peres. Gorenberg also shows how three American presidents turned a blind eye to what was happening in the territories, and reveals their strategic reasons for doing so.

Drawing on newly opened archives and extensive interviews, Gorenberg calls into question much of what we think we know about this issue that continues to haunt the Middle East.

Accidental President

Accidental President

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A hypnotically fast-paced, masterful reporting of Harry Truman's first 120 days as president, when he took on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and a secret weapon of unimaginable power--marking the most dramatic rise to greatness in American history.

Chosen as FDR's fourth-term vice president for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR's sudden death.

The first four months of Truman's administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time.

The Accidental President escorts readers into the situation room with Truman during a tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenges even higher.

"[A] well-judged and hugely readable book . . . few are as entertaining." --Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Accidental President

Accidental President

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The dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman's first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Heroes are often defined as ordinary characters who get thrust into extraordinary circumstances, and through courage and a dash of luck, cement their place in history. Chosen as FDR's fourth term Vice President for his well-praised work ethic, good judgment, and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman--a Midwesterner who had no college degree and had never had the money to buy his own home--was the prototypical ordinary man. That is, until he was shockingly thrust in over his head after FDR's sudden death. During the climactic months of the Second World War, Truman had to play judge and jury, pulling America to the forefront of the global stage. The first four months of Truman's administration saw the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings of Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation of Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of Imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. No other president had ever faced so much in such a short period of time.

Tightly focused, meticulously researched, rendered with vivid detail and narrative verve, THE ACCIDENTAL PRESIDENT escorts readers into the situation room with Truman during this tumultuous, history-making 120 days, when the stakes were high and the challenge even higher. The result is narrative history of the highest order and a compelling look at a presidency with great relevance to our times.

Accidental Presidents

Accidental Presidents

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This New York Times bestselling "deep dive into the terms of eight former presidents is chock-full of political hijinks--and d j vu" (Vanity Fair) and provides a fascinating look at the men who came to the office without be
Accidental Presidents

Accidental Presidents

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The strength and prestige of the American presidency has waxed and waned since George Washington. Accidental Presidents looks at eight men who came to the office without being elected to it. It demonstrates how the character of the man in that powerful seat affects the nation and world.

Eight men have succeeded to the presidency when the incumbent died in office. In one way or another they vastly changed our history. Only Theodore Roosevelt would have been elected in his own right. Only TR, Truman, Coolidge, and LBJ were re-elected.

John Tyler succeeded William Henry Harrison who died 30 days into his term. He was kicked out of his party and became the first president threatened with impeachment. Millard Fillmore succeeded esteemed General Zachary Taylor. He immediately sacked the entire cabinet and delayed an inevitable Civil War by standing with Henry Clay's compromise of 1850. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded our greatest president, sided with remnants of the Confederacy in Reconstruction. Chester Arthur, the embodiment of the spoils system, was so reviled as James Garfield's successor that he had to defend himself against plotting Garfield's assassination; but he reformed the civil service. Theodore Roosevelt broke up the trusts. Calvin Coolidge silently cooled down the Harding scandals and preserved the White House for the Republican Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression. Truman surprised everybody when he succeeded the great FDR and proved an able and accomplished president. Lyndon B. Johnson was named to deliver Texas electorally. He led the nation forward on Civil Rights but failed on Vietnam.

Accidental Presidents adds immeasurably to our understanding of the power and limits of the American presidency in critical times.

Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character

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In this strikingly original and groundbreaking book, Dr. Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer's "Iliad" with Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the "Iliad" was written twenty-seven centuries ago it has much to teach about combat trauma, as do the more recent, compelling voices and experiences of Vietnam vets.
Across the Pond

Across the Pond

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Americans have long been fascinated with the oddness of the British, but the English, says literary critic Terry Eagleton, find their transatlantic neighbors just as strange. Only an alien race would admiringly refer to a colleague as "aggressive," use superlatives to describe everything from one's pet dog to one's rock collection, or speak frequently of being "empowered." Why, asks Eagleton, must we broadcast our children's school grades with bumper stickers announcing "My Child Made the Honor Roll"? Why don't we appreciate the indispensability of the teapot? And why must we remain so irritatingly optimistic, even when all signs point to failure?

On his quirky journey through the language, geography, and national character of the United States, Eagleton proves to be at once an informal and utterly idiosyncratic guide to our peculiar race. He answers the questions his compatriots have always had but (being British) dare not ask, like why Americans willingly rise at the crack of dawn, even on Sundays, or why we publicly chastise cigarette smokers as if we're all spokespeople for the surgeon general.

In this pithy, warmhearted, and very funny book, Eagleton melds a good old-fashioned roast with genuine admiration for his neighbors "across the pond."

Across the Top of the World

Across the Top of the World

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The centuries-long quest for the fabled Northwest Passage rivals the story of Antarctic exploration for heroism, drama, and tragedy. Expedition after expedition set off in search of a sea route connecting Europe with Asia's riches; each expedition suffered extreme hardship and ended in defeat, until Roald Amundsen finally succeeded in 1903-06. Across the Top of the World brings this incredible saga to life through exhaustive research, grim firsthand accounts, and hundreds of dramatic images. Paintings, engravings, and photos of the intrepid men and their ships, as well as of relics and archaeological sites, provide a poignant and compelling link with the past, while landscapes and seascapes of the harsh yet beautiful Arctic illustrate the challenges that faced explorers. Covering all the major expeditions in detail, and written with passion and authority, this book is both a scholarly reference and an eminently readable history of Arctic exploration.
Acting in the Night: Macbeth and Places of the Civil War

Acting in the Night: Macbeth and Places of the Civil War

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What can the performance of a single play on one specific night tell us about the world this event inhabited so briefly? Alexander Nemerov takes a performance of Macbeth in Washington, DC on October 17, 1863--with Abraham Lincoln in attendance--to explore this question and illuminate American art, politics, technology, and life as it was being lived. Nemerov's inspiration is Wallace Stevens and his poem "Anecdote of the Jar," in which a single object organizes the wilderness around it in the consciousness of the poet. For Nemerov, that evening's performance of Macbeth reached across the tragedy of civil war to acknowledge the horrors and emptiness of a world it tried and ultimately failed to change.
Activist: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review

Activist: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review

$26.00
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The story of the landmark case that put the "Supreme" in Supreme Court.

Among the many momentous decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, none has had a greater impact than that passed down in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of Marbury v. Madison. While the ruling itself was innocuous--denying the plea of a minor functionary named William Marbury on constitutionally technical grounds--its implications were enormous. For Marshall had, in essence, claimed for the Supreme Court the right to determine what the Constitution and our laws under it really mean, known formally as the principle of "judicial review." Yet, as Lawrence Goldstone shows in his compelling narrative, that right is nowhere expressed in the Constitution and was not even considered by the Framers or the Founding Fathers, who would never have granted such power in a checks-and-balances system to unelected officials serving for life.

The Activist underscores the drama that occurred in 1803 by examining the debates that took place during the Constitutional Convention of 1787--among the most dramatic moments in American history--over the formation and structure of our judicial system. In parallel, Goldstone introduces in brief the life and ambition of John Marshall, and the early, fragile years of the Supreme Court, which--until Marshall's ascension to Chief Justice--sat atop the weakest of the three branches of government. Marshall made the Court supreme, and while judicial review has been used sparingly, without it the Court would likely never have intervened in the 2000 presidential election. Indeed, the great irony Goldstone reveals is that judicial review is now so enfranchised that Justice Antonin Scalia could admit, as he has, that the Supreme Court "made it up" in the same breath as he insists that justices must adhere steadfastly to the exact words of the Constitution.

Nobody brings the debates of the Constitutional Convention to life as does Lawrence Goldstone, and in this election year, no more interesting book on the Supreme Court will appear than The Activist, which makes the past come alive in the present.

Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin

Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin

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"An absorbing, scholarly account of the history of the Latin language, from its origins in antiquity to its afterlife in our own time...Ad Infinitum treats its readers with the dignity of Roman citizens."--The Wall Street Journal

The Latin language has been the one constant in the cultural history of the West for more than two millennia. It has defined the way in which we express our thoughts, our faith, and our knowledge of how the world functions, its use echoing on in the law codes of half the world, in the terminologies of modern science, and, until forty years ago, in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. In his erudite and entertaining "biography," Nicholas Ostler shows how and why Latin survived and thrived even as its creators and other languages failed. Originally the dialect of Rome and its surrounds, Latin supplanted its neighbors to become, by conquest and settlement, the language of all Italy, and then of Western Europe and North Africa. After the empire collapsed, spoken Latin re-emerged as a host of new languages, from Portuguese and Spanish in the west to Romanian in the east, while a knowledge of Latin lived on as the common code of European thought, and inspired the founders of Europe's New World in the Americas. E pluribus unum. Illuminating the extravaganza of its past, Nicholas Ostler makes clear that, in a thousand echoes, Latin lives on, ad infinitum.

Ada's Algorithm

Ada's Algorithm

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"[Ada Lovelace], like Steve Jobs, stands at the intersection of arts and technology."--Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators

Over 150 years after her death, a widely-used scientific computer program was named "Ada," after Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the eighteenth century's version of a rock star, Lord Byron. Why?

Because, after computer pioneers such as Alan Turing began to rediscover her, it slowly became apparent that she had been a key but overlooked figure in the invention of the computer.

In Ada Lovelace, James Essinger makes the case that the computer age could have started two centuries ago if Lovelace's contemporaries had recognized her research and fully grasped its implications.

It's a remarkable tale, starting with the outrageous behavior of her father, which made Ada instantly famous upon birth. Ada would go on to overcome numerous obstacles to obtain a level of education typically forbidden to women of her day. She would eventually join forces with Charles Babbage, generally credited with inventing the computer, although as Essinger makes clear, Babbage couldn't have done it without Lovelace. Indeed, Lovelace wrote what is today considered the world's first computer program--despite opposition that the principles of science were "beyond the strength of a woman's physical power of application."

Based on ten years of research and filled with fascinating characters and observations of the period, not to mention numerous illustrations, Essinger tells Ada's fascinating story in unprecedented detail to absorbing and inspiring effect.

Address Book

Address Book

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Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction One of Time Magazines's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020 Longlisted for the 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards

An entertaining quest to trace the origins and implications of the names of the roads on which we reside. --Sarah Vowell, The New York Times Book Review

When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won't get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class.

In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we also see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata and on the streets of London. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn't--and why.