Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the USS Plunkett by James SullivanWhat it's about: the USS Plunkett, the United States Navy destroyer that played a crucial role in the Allied war effort.
Why you might like it: This richly detailed history chronicles daily crew life as much as it does the ship's more dramatic wartime exploits.
Featuring: well-researched accounts of five crew members' experiences, including those of John Gallagher, the author's great-uncle.
A Thousand May Fall: Life, Death, and Survival in the Union Army
by Brian Matthew Jordan
"From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a pathbreaking history of the Civil War centered on a regiment of immigrants and their brutal experience of the conflict. Brian Matthew Jordan's Marching Home, a "powerful exploration" (Washington Post) of the fates of Union veterans, vaulted him into the first rank of Civil War historians. Now, in A Thousand May Fall, Jordan sends us trundling along dusty roads with the 107th Ohio, an ethnically German infantry regiment whose members battled nativism no less than Confederate rebels. The 107th was at once ordinary and exceptional: its ranks played central roles in two of the war's pivotal battles, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, even as language, identity, and popular perceptions of their loyalties set them apart. Drawing on many never-before-used sources, Jordan shows how, while enduring the horrible extremes of war, the men of the 107th Ohio contemplated the deeper meanings of the conflict-from personal questions of citizenship to the overriding matter of emancipation.A pioneering account from the view of the ordinary, immigrant soldier-200,000 native Germans fought for the Union, in total-A Thousand May Fall overturns many of our most basic assumptions about the bloodiest conflict in our history"
America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present
by John H. Ghazvinian
Using previously unknown Iranian archives, a leading history scholar examines the history of the complex U.S.-Iran relationship, from years of close strategic ties to the today’s complete collapse of trust.
Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong DunbarHow it began: In 1796, on the eve of being "gifted" to one of George and Martha Washington's granddaughters, lifelong Washington family slave and seamstress Ona Judge made a daring escape to freedom.
What happened next: Pursued by Washington for years, Judge settled in New Hampshire, where she lived freely for the next half century.
Book buzz: This thought-provoking National Book Award Finalist offers an eye-opening perspective on the legacy of America's first president.
What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished... by Michael Eric DysonWhat it's about: the fateful May 1963 meeting organized by attorney general Robert F. Kennedy and James Baldwin to discuss race relations.
In attendance: Lorraine Hansberry, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and Freedom Rider Jerome Smith.
Why it matters: This "watershed moment in American politics" jump-started difficult conversations that continue to resonate today.
Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.What it is: a sobering history of America's Reconstruction era and Jim Crow legislation that offers striking parallels to contemporary white supremacy movements.
Topics include: eugenics and scientific racism; mass produced stereotypes and blackface; the emergence of the "New Negro."
Reviewers say: "indispensable for understanding American history" (Publishers Weekly).
Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights by Gretchen SorinWhat it is: an accessible and engaging history of the freedoms (and limitations) of 20th-century Black mobility.
Why you might like it: Featuring photos, interviews, and author Gretchen Sorin's own memories of family car trips, Driving While Black spotlights the ways in which Black travel signaled Black resistance.
Further reading: Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor.
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