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History & Politics

River of the Gods Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile by Candice Millard

In 1857, three white men embarked on an expedition to “discover” the source of the Nile. It’s hard to imagine a world in which you couldn’t just jump on Google Maps to find your answer or, better yet, believe the people who lived there. From the jump, this expedition was fraught with mishaps and tragedies. Millard, once again, paints a fascinating picture of intrigue, betrayal, and the fragile egos of European men. This is the perfect book for the history-loving reader who wants a bit of a challenge to their biases.  —Ivy

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River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile By Candice Millard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - May 17th, 2022

We Refuse to Forget A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power by Caleb Gayle

Looking at the complexity of the Black Creeks’ story (whose Creek Nation citizenship was suddenly revoked by tribal members and Congress in the 1970s), and weaving history with present day, Caleb Gayle writes to the question of what is racial and ethnic identity in a country that has been rooted in white supremacy since its beginning. Gayle’s prose is stunning and the historical sections of his book leap off of the page, while he equally gives poetic justice and grace to the voice of today’s Black Creek members and their examination of race and belonging. I could not put this book down and it has risen to the top of my favorite nonfiction reads. Wow.  —S.M.C.

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We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power By Caleb Gayle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593329580
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 7th, 2022

Freezing Order A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder

Bill Browder (Red Notice) has written another fascinating, alarming, and compelling account of Russian corruption. Formerly the CEO of the largest foreign investor in Russia, Browder became one of Putin’s biggest enemies by exposing his laundering of hundreds of billions of dollars and by relentlessly campaigning for the Magnitsky Act. His tales of dodging arrest warrants and what it’s like being a subject of the Trump Tower meeting and Helsinki summit had me turning the pages as fast as I could.  —S.B.

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Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath By Bill Browder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982153281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 12th, 2022

An Atlas of Extinct Countries by Gideon Defoe

You’ll want to be reading excerpts to your friends, but don’t do it. They’ll want to take a look at it “for a minute.” A quarter of an hour later, you’ll be able to get back to the crazy story of the Tangier International Zone, or the Free State of Bottleneck (both real things). Each former “country” gets a cause of death, from “too louche” to “probably not existing in the first place.” Treat yourself to this one.  —Dave

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An Atlas of Extinct Countries By Gideon Defoe Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609457662
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Compass - March 15th, 2022

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer

Thomas Edison is credited with many great inventions: movies, electricity, and the phonograph, to name a few. His integrity isn’t without question, however, and many people are aware that Edison may have stolen his “invention” of the incandescent bulb from Nikola Tesla. Less well known is that he was not the first person to successfully film a motion picture; that credit goes to Louis Le Prince. After a decade's worth of work and several experiments, Le Prince was on his way to the US to showcase his invention when he disappeared. In this careful and thoroughly engrossing account, Fischer makes the case for Le Prince, shedding light on a long-obscured mystery and once again bringing Edison’s honor into question.  —Jade

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The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies By Paul Fischer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982114824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 19th, 2022

The Barbizon by Paulina Bren

If you’re looking for a summer read as full of facts as juicy tidbits, look no further. Bren’s well-researched capture of this iconic women-only Manhattan hotel is written with the same ease and grace as many of its storied guests, including Molly Brown, Grace Kelly, Sylvia Plath, and Joan Didion. Offering its residents an evolving sense of empowerment through much of the twentieth century, life at the Barbizon is a slice of the mainstream (albeit glamorous) women’s experience, and it’s rather delicious to follow along.  —Melinda

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The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free By Paulina Bren Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982123901
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 15th, 2022

Because Our Fathers Lied by Craig McNamara

Through Craig McNamara’s intimate and enjoyable memoir, we are offered a window into his relationship with his father, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, its complexity and conflict, frustration and love. As McNamara struggles to understand his father’s piece in the Vietnam War and how to live with it, we are given a unique lens to see America and its journey at large, how to know its past, its forebears, and still move forward, connected but different.  —Melinda

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Because Our Fathers Lied: A Memoir of Truth and Family,  from Vietnam to Today By Craig McNamara Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316282239
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - May 10th, 2022

Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman

I picked up Let the Record Show for my interest in LGBTQIA history. I devoured Let the Record Show for the absolutely compelling narrative and the voices and stories of real, complex, human people. I’m recommending Let the Record Show because this political/oral history of how ACT UP fought AIDS has so much relevance to our now—from the COVID-19 pandemic to practical lessons on organization and activism. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop reading.  —Jocelyn

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Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 By Sarah Schulman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250849120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 17th, 2022

The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones & The NYT Magazine

1619 is the year captive Africans were first brought to the shores of North America and enslaved in the colonies. Thus begins a new history of our country that centers the supremacist systems of oppression, the resistance against them, and the ongoing pursuit of justice. Originally a NYT Magazine project, Hannah-Jones paints a comprehensive landscape with contributions by historians, scholars, poets, and artists, that casts a vital perspective on all aspects of where we’ve come from and how we must choose to move forward. An incomparable must-read. —Melinda

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The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor) Cover Image
By Nikole Hannah-Jones (Created by), The New York Times Magazine (Created by), Caitlin Roper (Editor), Ilena Silverman (Editor), Jake Silverstein (Editor)
ISBN: 9780593230572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - November 16th, 2021

Conquering the Pacific by Andrés Reséndez

Reading this book is like attending the most thorough lecture series on a singular historical event. Andrés Reséndez, UC Davis professor of history, sets out to highlight Lope Martín, a mixed-race navigator and pilot who, for the first time in recorded European history, successfully circumnavigated the Pacific in 1565. Résendez details geologic, scientific, political, and intercultural history to give context to the full magnitude of Martín’s feat, and so evokes a vivid, visceral 16th century world.—Jocelyn

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Conquering The Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery By Andrés Reséndez Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328515971
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 14th, 2021


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