Fall 2017 – New History Books


History Books

Lots of American Presidential Biographies are coming this fall. The 500th anniversary of the Reformation and 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution will bring some great new books.

Fall 2017 Releases

President McKinley: Architect of the American Century by Robert W. Merry

In this great American story, acclaimed historian Robert Merry resurrects the presidential reputation of William McKinley, which loses out to the brilliant and flamboyant Theodore Roosevelt who succeeded him after his assassination. He portrays McKinley as a chief executive of consequence whose low place in the presidential rankings does not reflect his enduring accomplishments and the stamp he put on the country’s future role in the world.

The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition by Linda Gordon

A new Ku Klux Klan arose in the early 1920s, a less violent but equally virulent descendant of the relatively small, terrorist Klan of the 1870s. Unknown to most Americans today, this “second Klan” largely flourished above the Mason-Dixon Line—its army of four-to-six-million members spanning the continent from New Jersey to Oregon, its ideology of intolerance shaping the course of mainstream national politics throughout the twentieth century.

Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

The definitive biography of Herbert Hoover, one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century–a revisionist account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, and his battle against the Great Depression. 

To Starve the Army at Pleasure: Continental Army Administration and American Political Culture, 1775-1783 by E. Wayne Carp

American political culture and military necessity were at odds during the War for American Independence, as demonstrated in this interpretation of Continental army administration. E. Wayne Carp shows that at every level of authority — congressional, state, and county — a localistic world-view, a deferential political order, and adherence to republican ideology impeded the task of supplying the army, even though independence demanded military strength. 

Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 by Mike Wallace

In this utterly immersive volume, Mike Wallace captures the swings of prosperity and downturn, from the 1898 skyscraper-driven boom to the Bankers’ Panic of 1907, the labor upheaval, and violent repression during and after the First World War. Here is New York on a whole new scale, moving from national to global prominence — an urban dynamo driven by restless ambition, boundless energy, immigrant dreams, and Wall Street greed.

The Odyssey of Echo Company: The 1968 Tet Offensive and the Epic Battle to Survive the Vietnam War by Doug Stanton

A powerful work of literary military history from the New York Times bestselling author of In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, the harrowing, redemptive, and utterly unforgettable account of an American army reconnaissance platoon’s fight for survival during the Vietnam War—whose searing experiences reverberate today among the millions of American families touched by this war.

Pacific Thunder: The US Navy’s Central Pacific Campaign, August 1943–October 1944 by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver

On 27 October 1942, four “Long Lance” torpedoes fired by the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo exploded in the hull of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). Minutes later, the ship that had launched the Doolitte Raid six months earlier slipped beneath the waves of the Coral Sea 100 miles northeast of the island of Guadalcanal and just north of the Santa Cruz Islands, taking with her 140 of her sailors.

A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World by Erika Rappaport

Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes—in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies—the effects of which are with us even today.

Warfare in Neolithic Europe: An Archaeological and Anthropological Analysis by Julian Maxwell Heath

The Neolithic (‘New Stone Age’) marks the time when the prehistoric communities of Europe turned their backs on the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that they had followed for many thousands of years, and instead, became farmers. The significance of this switch from a lifestyle that had been based on the hunting and gathering of wild food resources, to one that involved the growing of crops and raising livestock, cannot be underestimated.

The Lost Founding Father: John Quincy Adams and the Transformation of American Politics by William J. Cooper

Long relegated to the sidelines of history as the hyperintellectual son of John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams has never basked in the historical spotlight. …

The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World by A. J. Baime

The dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman’s first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur by Scott Greenberger

Nobody expected the vice president, a New York political hack, to be president. And after President James A. Garfield was shot in 1881, nobody expected Chester A. Arthur to become a strong and effective president, a courageous anti-corruption reformer, and an early civil rights advocate. And yet…

Grant by Ron Chernow

Ulysses S. Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don’t come close to capturing him, as Chernow sows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

The Cold War: A World History by Odd Arne Westad

Westad offers a new perspective on a century when great power rivalry and ideological battle transformed every corner of our globe. From Soweto to Hollywood, Hanoi, and Hamburg, young people felt they were fighting for the future of the world. The Cold War may have begun on the perimeters of Europe, but it had its deepest reverberations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where nearly every community had to choose sides. And these choices continue to define economies and regimes across the world.

No Man’s Land: 1918, the Last Year of the Great War by John Toland

From freezing infantrymen huddled in bloodied trenches on the front lines to intricate political maneuvering and tense strategy sessions in European capitals, noted historian John Toland tells of the unforgettable final year of the First World War. As 1918 opened, the Allies and Central Powers remained locked in a desperate, bloody stalemate, despite the deaths of millions of soldiers over the previous three and a half years.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek

Robert Dallek’s Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life takes a fresh look at the many compelling questions that have attracted all his biographers: how did a man who came from so privileged a background become the greatest presidential champion of the country’s needy? How did someone who never won recognition for his intellect foster revolutionary changes in the country’s economic and social institutions? How did Roosevelt work such a profound change in the country’s foreign relations?

The Expanding Blaze: How the American Revolution Ignited the World, 1775-1848 by Jonathan Israel

A sweeping history of how the American Revolution inspired revolutions throughout Europe and the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jonathan Israel, one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment, shows how the radical ideas of American founders such as Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Monroe set the pattern for democratic revolutions, movements, and constitutions in France, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Canada, Haiti, Brazil, and Spanish America.

The Collapse of the German War Economy, 1944-1945: Allied Air Power and the German National Railway by Alfred C. Mierzejewski

Alfred Mierzejewski describes how the German economy collapsed under Allied bombing in the last year of World War II. He presents a broad-based, original study of German wartime industry and transportation, and of Allied air force planning and intelligence, including the first complete analysis in English of the German National Railway.

Case Red: The Collapse of France by Robert Forczyk

The German operation that actually conquered metropolitan France, Fall Rot (Case Red), is usually glossed over in brief. Nor are many people aware today that there was a second BEF in France, which was also successfully evacuated by sea.

Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation by Earl J. Hess

During the Civil War, neither the Union nor the Confederate army could have operated without effective transportation systems. Moving men, supplies, and equipment required coordination on a massive scale, and Earl J. Hess’s Civil War Logistics offers the first comprehensive analysis of this vital process. Utilizing an enormous array of reports, dispatches, and personal accounts by quartermasters involved in transporting war materials, Hess reveals how each conveyance system operated as well as the degree to which both

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by Gordon S. Wood

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America’s most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

In 1918, the Italian-Americans of New York, the Yupik of Alaska and the Persians of Mashed had almost nothing in common except for a virus–one that triggered the worst pandemic of modern times and had a decisive effect on the history of the twentieth century.

The Wehrmacht’s Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945 by Robert M. Citino

By 1943, the war was lost, and most German officers knew it. Three quarters of a century later, the question persists: What kept the German army going in an increasingly hopeless situation? Where some historians have found explanations in the power of Hitler or the role of ideology,

The Splintered Empires: The Eastern Front 1917–21 by Prit Buttar

In 1917, the three empires fighting on the Eastern Front were reaching their breaking points, but none was closer than Russia. After the February Revolution, Russia’s ability to wage war faltered and her last desperate gamble, the Kerensky Offensive, saw the final collapse of her army. This helped trigger the Bolshevik Revolution and a crippling peace, but the Central Powers had no opportunity to exploit their gains and, a year later, both the German and Austro-Hungarian empires surrendered and disintegrated.

The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943: The War in the West, Volume Two by James Holland

Germany’s war machine looked to be unstoppable. The Nazi blitzkrieg had taken Poland, France, and Holland with shocking speed. The Luftwaffe had bombed London, while German U-boats wrought havoc on Allied shipping on the Atlantic. And yet, as James Holland shows at the start of The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943—the second volume in his magisterial narrative of World War II in the West—cracks were already appearing in Germany’s apparent invincibility. Shortages of food and materiel were becoming critical. 

The Invisible Shining: The Cult of Matyas Rakosi in Stalinist Hungary, 1945-1956 by Balazs Apor

This book offers a detailed analysis of the construction, reception and eventual decline of the cult of the Hungarian Communist Party Secretary, Mtys Rkosi, one of the most striking examples of orchestrated adulation in the Soviet bloc.

Narratives of Exile and Identity: Soviet Deportation Memoirs from the Baltic States by Tomas Balkelis and Violeta Davoliute

This collection of essays considers the Soviet-era gulag in the Baltic States within the broader international research on displacement and cultural memory.

The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan

Chronicling the years 133-80 BCE, The Storm Before the Storm is a rollicking deep-dive into the bloody battles, political machinations, and human drama that defined a dangerous new political environment–a stark warning for modern readers about what happens to a civilization driven by increasing economic inequality, political polarization, and ruthless ambition.

The Siege of Tsingtau: The German-Japanese War 1914 by Charles Stephenson

The German-Japanese War was a key, yet often neglected, episode in the opening phase of the First World War. It had profound implications for the future, particularly in respect of Japans acquisition of Germanys Micronesian islands. Japans naval perimeter was extended and threatened the United States naval strategy of projecting force westward. The campaign to relieve Germany of Tsingtau, the port and naval base in China, and its hinterland posed a grave threat to Chinese independence.

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas

On All Hallow’s Eve in 1517, a young monk named Martin Luther posted a document he hoped would spark an academic debate, but that instead ignited a conflagration that would forever destroy the world he knew. Five hundred years after Luther’s now famous Ninety-five Theses appeared, Eric Metaxas, acclaimed biographer of the bestselling Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, paints a startling portrait of the wild figure

Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts by Brad S. Gregory

For five centuries, Martin Luther has been lionized as an outspoken and fearless icon of change who ended the Middle Ages and heralded the beginning of the modern world. In Rebel in the Ranks, Brad Gregory, renowned professor of European history at Notre Dame, recasts this long-accepted portrait. Luther did not intend to start a revolution that would divide the Catholic Church and forever change Western civilization. Yet his actions would profoundly shape our world in ways he could never have imagined.

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors by Dan Jones

Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights of Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since. But who were they really and what actually happened?

Fairies, Demons and Nature Spirits: ‘Small Gods’ at the Margins of Christendom by Michael Ostling (Editor)

This book examines the fairies, demons, and nature spirits haunting the margins of Christendom from late-antique Egypt to early modern Scotland to contemporary Amazonia. Contributions from anthropologists, folklorists, historians and religionists explore Christian strategies of encompassment and marginalization, and the ‘small gods’ undisciplined tendency to evade such efforts at exorcism. 

Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror by Victor Sebestyen

Victor Sebestyen’s riveting biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin—the first major biography in English in nearly two decades—is not only a political examination of one of the most important historical figures of the twentieth century but also a fascinating portrait of Lenin the man.

Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin’s greatest crimes—the consequences of which still resonate today

The Empire Must Die: Russia’s Revolutionary Collapse, 1900-1917 by Mikhail Zygar

The Empire Must Die portrays the vivid drama of Russia’s brief and exotic experiment with civil society before it was swept away by the despotism of the Communist Revolution. The window between two equally stifling autocracies – the imperial family and the communists – was open only briefly, in the last couple of years of the 19th century until the end of WWI, by which time the revolution was in full fury.

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 by Stephen Kotkin

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Stephen Kotkin has written the definitive biography of Joseph Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror to the conflict with Hitler’s Germany that is the signal event of modern world history

Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914 – 1921 by Laura Engelstein

October 1917, heralded as the culmination of the Russian Revolution, remains a defining moment in world history. Even a hundred years after the events that led to the emergence of the world’s first self-proclaimed socialist state, debate continues over whether, as historian E. H. Carr put it decades ago, these earth-shaking days were a “landmark in the emancipation of mankind from past oppression” or “a crime and a disaster.” Some things are clear. 

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Miéville 

On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history. In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at the vanguard of global revolution. How did this unimaginable transformation take place?

The Sovietization of Azerbaijan: The South Caucasus in the Triangle of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, 1920–1922 by Jamil Hasanli

World War I and the fall of tsarist Russia brought brief independence to Azerbaijan, but by 1920 the Bolshevik revolution pushed south with the twofold purpose of accessing the oil-rich fields near Baku on ?the Caspian Sea and spreading communism into the Caucasus. Azerbaijan, the richest and earliest significant source of oil in the world, was the first republic in the South Caucasus occupied by the Red Army, which then advanced into neighboring Armenia and Georgia.

The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution by Yuri Slezkine

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the epic story of an enormous apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction

Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine by Lynne Viola

Between the summer of 1937 and November 1938, the Stalinist regime arrested over 1.5 million people for “counterrevolutionary” and “anti-Soviet” activity and either summarily executed or exiled them to the Gulag. While we now know a great deal about the experience of victims of the Great Terror, we know almost nothing about the lower- and middle-level Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (NKVD), or secret police, cadres who carried out Stalin’s murderous policies.

Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation by Serhii Plokhy

In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the confluence of Russian imperialism and nationalism today by delving into the nation’s history. Spanning over 500 years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin exploited existing forms of identity, warfare, and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy.

Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman

When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, the USSR. was one of the world’s two superpowers. By 1989, his liberal policies of perestroika and glasnost had permanently transformed Soviet Communism, and had made enemies of radicals on the right and left. By 1990 he, more than anyone else, had ended the Cold War, and in 1991, after barely escaping from a coup attempt, he unintentionally presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union he had tried to save.