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Summer Reading 2021 History & Politics Recommendations

See the full list of great reading recommendations for Summer 2021 here.

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

In 2019, Patrick Keefe made some noise with the release of Say Nothing, a deep dive into the volatile history of Northern Ireland’s Irish Republican Army in the late 1990s. Loved by critics and Bookshop staff, Say Nothing firmly placed Keefe on my list of authors whose work I must read absolutely all of. Now Keefe turns his keen eye and journalistic insight to the Sackler family, exploring three generations of a modern American dynasty whose fortunes skyrocketed from their development and exploitation of OxyContin. I couldn’t be more excited for this book! — Tori

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Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9780385545686
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - April 13th, 2021

Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice by Nicole Eustace

This immersive historical narrative transports you to the landscape, language, politics, and dueling moralities of 1722 Pennsylvania. Historian Nicole Eustace breathes life into the people named in primary sources about the murder of Seneca hunter Sawantaeny. Eustace’s deft modern analysis contrasts colonial self-righteousness with the actual principles and justice traditions of the Indigenous nations they attempted to placate. A compelling perspective on overlooked history that feels all the more crucial as we engage in an overdue debate about “justice” itself. — Jocelyn

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Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781631495878
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - April 27th, 2021

African Europeans: An Untold History by Olivette Otele

Professor Olivette Otele’s celebrated expertise is in full display in this intersectional historic exploration. With her characteristic rigorous analysis, drawn from a wide breadth of sources, Otele details the evolution of the idea of race and the lives and circumstances of Black individuals across Europe and time. African Europeans joyously concludes with stories of those currently working to define their own identities and claim recognition and justice. For any scholar looking to disrupt an erroneously monochromatic view or to deepen their understanding of history’s true diversity. — Jocelyn

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African Europeans: An Untold History Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781541619678
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - May 4th, 2021

Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

A combination of It Can’t Happen Here horror story of American dystopia and an epic struggle from Italy to Germany—including many Medal of Honor–minting battles and heroism—Facing the Mountain would make a movie to rival D-Day spectaculars. Japanese Americans’ lives were upended by Roosevelt’s order that they be sent to concentration camps in the desert. Brown’s book is a tour through the lives of Japanese Americans in this time: ROTC high school kids; those who resisted internment and the draft; those who went to war to defend American ideals and their familial values; those who never came back from the war; and those who did who had still another battle to fight. — Dave

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Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780525557401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - May 11th, 2021

The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice by Scott Ellsworth

One hundred years ago, a white mob violently erased a prosperous Black community from Tulsa’s streets in an event that has, over the century, been called a riot, a disaster, a pogrom, and now, finally, a race massacre. With great empathy and objectivity, Ellsworth chronicles the history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, from the conspiracy of silence about it to recently unearthed evidence, and then looks toward realizing a better future through pursuit of truth. — Tori

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The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593182987
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - May 18th, 2021

The Hunt for History by Nathan Raab

Nathan Raab finds amazing—and sometimes terrible—things. A British officer’s report from St. Helena announcing the death of Napoléon. Andrew Jackson’s letter to the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, inviting them to what would become the Trail of Tears. A love letter from MLK in the Albany City Jail. A forged land survey, not by George Washington. The missing tapes from Air Force One after the JFK assassination. And a letter from Susan B. Anthony explaining that no, she did not want to buy photographs of famous men of the 1800s. If you understand why half a piece of moldy paper with the signature torn off could be worth the world, then this book is for you. — Dave

Our Time Is Now by Stacey Abrams

With Stacey Abrams’s legendary efforts on voter rights and registration and her historic turnout of voters in 2020, it is inevitable she’d be asked two questions: How did we get here? How did you do it? This book works to answer both in a comprehensive and accessible tour through voter suppression past and present, Abrams’s specific tactics, her guiding philosophies, and why the right to vote matters. As expected, an illuminating and inspiring read from one of our most effective and sincere leaders today. — Jocelyn 

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Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250798466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - June 8th, 2021

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt

After finishing Unworthy Republic, you’ll be wondering how the US got off so lightly in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Two hundred years of violent, though piecemeal, efforts to displace the original inhabitants of the Eastern US did not result in the purging of all Native peoples. Claudio Saunt explains how the first systematized, censused, self-capitalized, internationally brokered, and democratically determined program to remove an entire people, or kill them if more convenient, led to the Trail of Tears, the expansion of slavery, and Disney World. — Dave

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Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393541564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 23rd, 2021

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