History, Biography, and Politics

Susie Bright has the kind of life that memoirs were invented for—and finally she has written one! Chock full of “did-that-really-happen” moments and the fiercely intelligent and empathetic insight that she is known for, Big Sex Little Death is not to be skipped. Perfect for book group or class discussions

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Big Sex Little Death Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781580053938
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seal Press (CA) - April 24th, 2012

Pat Tillman was a true American hero. An All Star football player, he gave up his career to join the Army, only to be killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, a fact which the government covered up. Krakauer delves into the story, following Tillman's life as well as the actions that lead to his death, and cutting through the web of lies woven around it.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307386045
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Published: Anchor Books - July 27th, 2010

Malcolm X holds nothing back in this engaging autobiography which is part personal philosophy, part personal narrative. With the help of Alex Haley (co-author), Malcolm X opens up about his amazing transition from a street-wise kid to one of the most influential African-Americans in history. Even if you've seen the movie (which is awesome), check out the inspiration!

Reviewed by: 
Cesar
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780345350688
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - October 12th, 1987

The late Manning Marable's acclaimed biography of Malcolm X does justice to one of the most influential and controversial figures of twentieth-century American history. Filled with new information and revelations, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America. “An extraordinary portrait of a man and his time. . . .A masterpiece.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9780143120322
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Published: Penguin Books - December 28th, 2011

This vividly detailed book follows the lives of various slum dwellers, all with different positions and castes, over almost four years, hinging on one event that ties them all together. Boo completely removes herself from the narrative, letting the people tell their story, and the result is a fascinating look at an extremely different culture that reads like a novel. It kept me up late into the night, anxious to know what would happen.

Reviewed by: 
Flannery
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781400067558
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Published: Random House - February 7th, 2012

Full of rigorous research and wonderful analogies, this a fascinating book. The history of the Americanization of Hawai'i—first by Puritans then by politicians—is made highly memorable through Vowell's wry sense of humor and easily accessible through her personal connections. The end of Hawai'ian independence is still a tough issue and deserves a whole library of it's own, but for the uninitiated, this is an excellent start.

Reviewed by: 
Nici
Unfamiliar Fishes Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594485640
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 6th, 2012

Expanding on some of the themes found in her autobiographical novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson writes in her new memoir about being adopted and raised by Pentecostal parents. The first half of the book is a series of stories and snapshots from Winterson’s young life as a girl and of her relationship with her adoptive, religious zealot mother who was thwarted and abusive. The second half of the memoir feels as if it’s almost written in “real-time” and tells of Winterson’s quest to find her biological parents. In some ways, Winterson has done for the feeling of displacement and yearning that comes with being adopted, what Joan Didion did for grief in Year of Magical Thinking: written a singular story that captures a universal topic. With woven words and tactile imagery, she has created a raw narrative of survival, wit, and the importance of claiming identity.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802120106
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Grove Press - March 6th, 2012

Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog) has long been one of my favorite novelists. The pulse and threat of violence is a prevalent theme in his books, and his new memoir offers an illuminating glimpse into the way violence shaped his childhood. Dubus grew up in an entirely different world from his famous novelist father (Andre Dubus), in rough neighborhoods where fighting was commonplace. A thoughtful, electric memoir, and a must-read for fans of Dubus.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Townie: A Memoir Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393340679
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 6th, 2012

Part memoir, part journalism, and part history, David Treuer’s Rez Life uses his novelist eye to talk to reservation life from past to present. Treuer, a member of the Ojibwe tribe of northern Minnesota, grew up on Leech Lake reservation but was educated in mainstream America. Whether he is writing about the labyrinth of policy that goes into a fishing treaty, or the circumstances surrounding his grandfather’s death, Treuer explores how poverty, politics, and preservation of native language and culture are constant struggles of crisis—but also enduring and courageous ways of life.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780802119711
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - February 7th, 2012

Before he was a revolutionary, a diplomat, or even an image on your
t-shirt, Ernesto Guevara was a young student in need of an adventure. In
1952 he and his friend Alberto Granado embarked on a journey around
South America, inspiring this excellent book.

Reviewed by: 
Cesar
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey (Che Guevara Publishing Project) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781920888107
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ocean Press - September 1st, 2004

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