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History & Politics

Our Migrant Souls by Héctor Tobar

Héctor Tobar, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, educator, and author (Deep Down Dark, Barbarian Nurseries), lyrically unpacks a myriad of Latino experiences in America through this magnificent essay collection. Tobar’s exploration includes family narratives, his students’ writing, forays into colonial representations in pop culture, and a deeply researched history of racism, linguistics, and social issues. His resultant framework for understanding the formation of identity and “emotional commonality” of Latinos is personal and profound. The prologue alone is one of the best pieces of nonfiction I’ve ever read. 


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Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” By Héctor Tobar Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374609900
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - May 9th, 2023

A Renaissance of Our Own by Rachel E. Cargle

I am so inspired by activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Rachel Cargle’s new book and its powerful message: The pursuit of purposeful lives that align with our authentic selves—whether or not they fit the expectations of our loved ones or follow the scripts given to us by society—will lead to true freedom and possibility for all. Cargle shares her own journey from small–town Christian wife to outspoken feminist trailblazer and provides prompts and exercises for readers to foster transformation in their own lives and communities. A phenomenal read!  —S.B.

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A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining By Rachel E. Cargle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593134733
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 16th, 2023

I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan by Katie Porter

Representative Katie Porter, now running for US senator, is well known in Congress for speaking her mind. A progressive and single mother of three who flipped a seat in conservative Orange County, she came to national attention for drawing on whiteboards to simplify complex issues (and sometimes call out dodgy colleagues). I Swear takes us behind the scenes of her fight against corporate corruption in the often elitist and out-of-touch congressional world. “The job sucks,” Porter says, “but the work is amazing.”  —S.B.

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I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan By Katie Porter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593443989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - April 11th, 2023

Who Killed Jane Stanford? by Richard White

In this fascinating, Gilded Age true crime story, Richard White digs through diary entries, letters, and various published records to discern who poisoned Jane Stanford, the wife of Stanford University’s founder, and why they did it. Through his meticulous research, White weaves facts together to illuminate a tale of greed, betrayal, and secrets. While this isn’t a book I sped through, I enjoyed the meandering journey and historical detail. More than just a mystery, Who Killed Jane Stanford is a great read for those interested in Bay Area history.   —JADE

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Who Killed Jane Stanford?: A Gilded Age Tale of Murder, Deceit, Spirits and the Birth of a University By Richard White Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324064428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 4th, 2023

The Rediscovery of America by Ned Blackhawk

Ned Blackhawk joins the growing (and overdue) pantheon of historians looking to restore Indigenous history to the story of “America.” Ambitiously tackling the arc commonly taught (and normalized) in US schools, Blackhawk swiftly but comprehensively charts a course from Spanish colonization to the 20th century, covering 500 years in fewer than 500 pages, examining factors of personality, religion, economics, politics, conflict, and culture, illustrating how the disparate peoples known as “Native Americans” have always shaped the identity, direction, and history of this country.  —JOCELYN

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The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History By Ned Blackhawk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300244052
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Published: Yale University Press - April 25th, 2023

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan

In the 1920s, Indiana, the most “American” of states, was run by the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan's power ran through the governorship to local bank managers and schoolteachers. The Klan sponsored sleigh rides, baseball teams, and kids clubs complete with miniature robes. Award-winning journalist Timothy Egan shows the pervasiveness and ugliness of institutionalized hatred a century ago in A Fever in the Heartland. The story is ugly but not hopeless. There is a hero—an unknown schoolteacher who took them on and won. A necessary story in these times.  —RYAN

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A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them By Timothy Egan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735225268
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - April 4th, 2023

Born to Be Hanged by Keith Thomson

With novelistic flourishes, Keith Thomas details the daring Pacific campaign of Captain Morgan and his pirate crew. The band of hardened seadogs and buccaneers crossed the Panama jungles on foot to reach the Pacific coast and then proceeded on a two-year campaign of terror, raiding everything Spanish in their path. A very readable popular history of one of the boldest bits of piracy from the golden age of pirates. 


Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitutionby Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal does not pull his punches, but he has the receipts to back them up. Mystal went viral for calling the US Constitution “trash,” which then led to his writing a book as informative as it is entertaining, on a document that had flawed intentions from the start. Agree or disagree, pick this up and I bet you’ll find it hard to stop reading it and to not be persuaded by informed arguments from Mystal, one of the best writers about American political history.  —JOCELYN

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Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution By Elie Mystal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781620977637
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Published: New Press - May 9th, 2023

Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

In this follow-up to his previous book, Evicted, Desmond tackles the complex, often misrepresented topic of American poverty; what causes it and how can we remedy it? Bastioned by statistics, testimonies, and his own extensive research, the author presents a compelling case for what he terms “poverty abolition.” Excellent and infuriating, Desmond’s book is a must read for anybody who craves a better understanding of modern America. —Jade

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Poverty, by America By Matthew Desmond Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593239919
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Published: Crown - March 21st, 2023

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

The spirit and essence of “America” are things quintessentially, essentially elusive. In South to America, Imani Perry—native Black Southerner, award-winning author, Princeton professor—submits a gorgeously written, eminently worthy entry in the search. Crafting a compelling balance between recorded history, current events, and personal experience, Perry charts the evolution of the United States through the intriguingly and heartbreakingly contrary South, always charting a course with hope for what “America” could be. —Jocelyn


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South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation By Imani Perry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062977373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - February 28th, 2023


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