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History & Politics

The Book Collectors by Delphine Minoui

A staggering portrait of resistance and hope in the face of despair, Minoui’s The Book Collectors takes us to the Syrian rebel stronghold of Daraya, which endured nearly 4 years of all-out siege by the Assad regime. Daily bombings and brutal lockdown measures created a near-total separation from the outside world, but among the rubble, two young men began amassing an underground library that would become the focal point for community and culture in Daraya. Expertly researched and beautifully written, The Book Collectors offers a heartbreaking and poignant look at the power of books in shaping and maintaining community, even in the direst of circumstances.  — Travis

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The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War Cover Image
By Delphine Minoui, Lara Vergnaud (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374115166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 3rd, 2020

Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos

This book is a remarkable and historic achievement for us all. Paola Ramos, host of VICE’s Latin-X, has journeyed across the United States to examine the full range of those included in the controversial term “Latinx.” With a collection of intimate interviews and portraits, Ramos demonstrates Latinx as not only belonging to scenes of immigration and assimilitude, but also as being indigenous, black, trans, queer, and so much more. For those committed to human rights and social change, this book is an essential text in understanding both the diverse experiences of the Latinx population and the challenges we face collectively as a nation. — Juj

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Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984899095
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 20th, 2020

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Bea Koch, coproprietor of LA’s The Ripped Bodice, uses the lens of romance to focus on the entertaining microhistory of the under-known royalty, artists, mistresses, and scientists, who, white and black, straight and queer—and more—shaped the culture and history of the British Regency. Koch gives delicious tastes of these women’s complex lives and historical context, and includes lists of further (factual and fictional) reading and viewing. A great read for any armchair historian, especially those also denizens of Romancelandia. — Jocelyn

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Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538701010
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 1st, 2020

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham

There are very few who deserve their story to be told as much as the freedom fighter John Lewis. In this chronicle of Lewis’s life, Pulitzer Prize– winning biographer Jon Meacham describes how Lewis was first inspired to fight for civil rights as a student organizer, the struggles he faced as one of the original Freedom Riders, and  his election to Congress and his work to maintain peace and bolster civil rights for all. A great, cursory examination of a truly great human being. — Aric

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His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope Cover Image
By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781984855022
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Published: Random House - August 25th, 2020

The Quiet Americans by Scott Anderson

The author of Lawrence in Arabia returns with yet another masterpiece. At the end of World War II, the US recognized the Soviet Union as its primary adversary for global dominance and deployed the newly formed CIA to establish a spy network and run covert operations to stem Soviet influence. Anderson focuses on four of the CIA's best spies, each more accomplished and daring than the next. Their stories illustrate the ways we gave up our democratic ideals in the name of fighting communism, as we overthrew democratically elected governments and supported brutal regimes. When the smoke finally cleared, we had earned scorn both here and abroad, caused Americans to distrust their own government, and locked ourselves into the Cold War for decades to come. — Rico

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The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War--a Tragedy in Three Acts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385540452
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Published: Doubleday - September 1st, 2020

Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. by Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s writing consistently alters and advances the world it is given to. Azadi is no different. Through this collection of essays, Roy interrogates, illuminates, and inspires worlds to come—deliberately dissecting our world’s underbelly, Roy leaves nearly nothing untouched and everything expanding. She writes of the ongoing pandemic, the continuing struggles for freedom in Kashmir, and what can, does, and will exist in the spaces between freedom. Azadi, meaning freedom in Urdu, feels a little closer after reading this book. — Citlalli

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Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction. Cover Image
ISBN: 9781642592603
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Published: Haymarket Books - September 1st, 2020

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre

Ben Macintyre draws from a wealth of declassified reports, memoirs, and interviews to paint a vivid portrait of Ursula Burton, née Kuczynski, daughter of a German Jewish bourgeois family, mother of three, life-long champion of communism, and USSR spy “Sonya.” Sonya’s cause drew her across the world, where her information networks allowed her to facilitate some of the most significant missions of WWII, part of the start of a history that has shaped so much of today’s world. A fascinating read for any historian. — Jocelyn

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Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593136300
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Published: Crown - September 15th, 2020

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore

This is sort of a history of late-stage 20th-century America, seen through the lens of the Simulmatics Corporation. Their forays into big-data human manipulation during the Kennedy election and Vietnam War would later metastasize into Facebook, Google, and the coinfections of Fancy Bear and Cambridge Analytics. Liberal social scientists with a plan to help elect liberal politicians turned, for the most part, into counterinsurgency consultants. But we did get FB likes and targeted ads out of it, so cool, right? — Dave

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If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631496103
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Published: Liveright - September 15th, 2020

Stakes Is High by Mychal Denzel Smith

The honest and intelligent exploration of American identity in Stakes Is High couldn’t be more timely. Mychal Denzel Smith shines light on the American Dream and the idea that working hard and holding purpose can lead to success and stability. He shows the schisms in that dream, focusing on Black lives in history and the institutional oppression and racism that are such a part of America’s mythical promises and of Trump and the current political climate. Smith helps us see where change is possible in this important read. — S.M.C.

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Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream Cover Image
ISBN: 9781568588735
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Published: Bold Type Books - September 15th, 2020

Let’s Talk About Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Edited by Carmen Boullosa & Alberto Quintero

This necessary anthology of Mexican and Mexico-based writing is crucial to a more complete understanding of the long history of border relations and immigration policies, their past and present effects, and our current exacerbated political crisis. Using Trump’s wall as a launching pad, Boullosa and Quintero provides a platform for more than 20 Latinx writers, including Valeria Luiselli, Yuri Herrera, and Guadalupe Nettel, creating an important resource of diverse voices, experiences, and reports from the other side of the Southern border. 
— Melinda

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Let's Talk about Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Cover Image
By Carmen Boullosa (Editor), Alberto Quintero (Editor)
ISBN: 9781620976180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - October 27th, 2020


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