History

1619 Project: A New Origin Story

1619 Project: A New Origin Story

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In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself.

This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction—and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.

African Europeans: An Untold History

African Europeans: An Untold History

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A dazzling history of Africans in Europe, revealing their unacknowledged role in shaping the continent

One of the Best History Books of 2021 -- Smithsonian

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as "Africans" and those called "Europeans." She gives equal attention to the most prominent figures--like Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence thought to have been born to a free African woman in a Roman village--and the untold stories--like the lives of dual-heritage families in Europe's coastal trading towns. African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come.
African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals

African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals

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In this sweeping, foundational work, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer draws on extensive research to show how enslaved Africans and their descendants enlarged American ideas of freedom in varying ways in different regions of the early United States.

African Founders explores the little-known history of how enslaved people from different regions of Africa interacted with colonists of European origins to create new regional cultures in the colonial United States. The Africans brought with them linguistic skills, novel techniques of animal husbandry and farming, and generations-old ethical principles, among other attributes. This startling history reveals how much our country was shaped by these African influences in its early years, producing a new, distinctly American culture.

Drawing on decades of research, some of it in western Africa, Fischer recreates the diverse regional life that shaped the early American republic. He shows that there were varieties of slavery in America and varieties of new American culture, from Puritan New England to Dutch New York, Quaker Pennsylvania, cavalier Virginia, coastal Carolina, and Louisiana and Texas.

This landmark work of history will transform our understanding of America's origins.

AFRO-INDIGENOUS HISTORY OF THE

AFRO-INDIGENOUS HISTORY OF THE

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The first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America

Beginning with pre-Revolutionary America and moving into the movement for Black lives and contemporary Indigenous activism, Afro-Indigenous historian Kyle T. Mays argues that the foundations of the US are rooted in antiblackness and settler colonialism, and that these parallel oppressions continue into the present. He explores how Black and Indigenous peoples have always resisted and struggled for freedom, sometimes together, and sometimes apart. Whether to end African enslavement and Indigenous removal or eradicate capitalism and colonialism, Mays show how the fervor of Black and Indigenous peoples calls for justice have consistently sought to uproot white supremacy.

Mays uses a wide-array of historical activists and pop culture icons, "sacred" texts, and foundational texts like the Declaration of Independence and Democracy in America. He covers the civil rights movement and freedom struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, and explores current debates around the use of Native American imagery and the cultural appropriation of Black culture. Mays compels us to rethink both our history as well as contemporary debates and to imagine the powerful possibilities of Afro-Indigenous solidarity.

Includes an 8-page photo insert featuring Kwame Ture with Dennis Banks and Russell Means at the Wounded Knee Trials; Angela Davis walking with Oren Lyons after he leaves Wounded Knee, SD; former South African president Nelson Mandela with Clyde Bellecourt; and more.

Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights

Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women's Rights

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An LA Times Best Book of the Year, Christopher Award Winner, and Chautauqua Prize Finalist!

"Engrossing... examines the major events of the mid 19th century through the lives of three key figures in the abolitionist and women's rights movements." --Smithsonian

From the executive editor of The New Yorker, a riveting, provocative, and revelatory history of abolition and women's rights, told through the story of three women--Harriet Tubman, Frances Seward, and Martha Wright--in the years before, during and after the Civil War.

"The Agitators tells the story of America before the Civil War through the lives of three women who advocated for the abolition of slavery and for women's rights as the country split apart. Harriet Tubman, Martha Coffin Wright, and Frances A. Seward are the examples we need right now--another time of divisiveness and dissension over our nation's purpose 'to form a more perfect union.'" --Hillary Rodham Clinton

In the 1850s, Harriet Tubman, strategically brilliant and uncannily prescient, rescued some seventy enslaved people from Maryland's Eastern Shore and shepherded them north along the underground railroad. One of her regular stops was Auburn, New York, where she entrusted passengers to Martha Coffin Wright, a Quaker mother of seven, and Frances A. Seward, the wife of William H. Seward, who served over the years as governor, senator, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union Army in South Carolina as a nurse and spy, and took part in a spectacular river raid in which she helped to liberate 750 slaves from several rice plantations.

Wright, a "dangerous woman" in the eyes of her neighbors, worked side by side with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to organize women's rights and anti-slavery conventions across New York State, braving hecklers and mobs when she spoke. Frances Seward, the most conventional of the three friends, hid her radicalism in public, while privately acting as a political adviser to her husband, pressing him to persuade President Lincoln to move immediately on emancipation.

The Agitators opens in the 1820s, when Tubman is enslaved and Wright and Seward are young homemakers bound by law and tradition, and ends after the war. Many of the most prominent figures of the era--Lincoln, William H. Seward, Frederick Douglass, Daniel Webster, Charles Sumner, John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison--are seen through the discerning eyes of the protagonists. So are the most explosive political debates: about the civil rights of African Americans and women, about the enlistment of Black troops, and about opposing interpretations of the Constitution.

Through richly detailed letters from the time and exhaustive research, Wickenden traces the second American revolution these women fought to bring about, the toll it took on their families, and its lasting effects on the country. Riveting and profoundly relevant to our own time, The Agitators brings a vibrant, original voice to this transformative period in our history.

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A renowned historian traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft a "deeply layered and insightful" (The Washington Post) testament to people who are left out of the archives.

WINNER: Frederick Douglass Book Prize, Harriet Tubman Prize, PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize, Lawrence W. Levine Award, Darlene Clark Hine Award, Cundill History Prize, Joan Kelly Memorial Prize, Massachusetts Book Award

ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, Slate, Vulture, Publishers Weekly

"A history told with brilliance and tenderness and fearlessness."--Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced a crisis: the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag for her with a few items, and, soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the sack in spare, haunting language.

Historian Tiya Miles carefully traces these women's faint presence in archival records, and, where archives fall short, she turns to objects, art, and the environment to write a singular history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States. All That She Carried is a poignant story of resilience and love passed down against steep odds. It honors the creativity and resourcefulness of people who preserved family ties when official systems refused to do so, and it serves as a visionary illustration of how to reconstruct and recount their stories today

FINALIST: MAAH Stone Book Award, Kirkus Prize, Mark Lynton History Prize, Chatauqua Prize

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, NPR, Time, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smithsonian Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ms. magazine, Book Riot, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist

The 2021 National Book Award winner for nonfiction and Kirkus Prize Finalist - Renowned historian, Tiya Miles, traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft a testament to extraordinary people whose stories were previously left untold.  

ALLOW ME TO RETORT: A BLACK GU

ALLOW ME TO RETORT: A BLACK GU

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Instant New York Times Bestseller


MSNBC legal commentator Elie Mystal thinks that Republicans are wrong about the law almost all of the time. Now, instead of talking about this on cable news, Mystal explains why in his first book.

"After reading Allow Me to Retort, I want Elie Mystal to explain everything I don't understand--quantum astrophysics, the infield fly rule, why people think Bob Dylan is a good singer . . ." --Michael Harriot, The Root


Allow Me to Retort is an easily digestible argument about what rights we have, what rights Republicans are trying to take away, and how to stop them. Mystal explains how to protect the rights of women and people of color instead of cowering to the absolutism of gun owners and bigots. He explains the legal way to stop everything from police brutality to political gerrymandering, just by changing a few judges and justices. He strips out all of the fancy jargon conservatives like to hide behind and lays bare the truth of their project to keep America forever tethered to its slaveholding past.


Mystal brings his trademark humor, expertise, and rhetorical flair to explain concepts like substantive due process and the right for the LGBTQ community to buy a cake, and to arm readers with the knowledge to defend themselves against conservatives who want everybody to live under the yoke of eighteenth-century white men. The same tactics Mystal uses to defend the idea of a fair and equal society on MSNBC and CNN are in this book, for anybody who wants to deploy them on social media.


You don't need to be a legal scholar to understand your own rights. You don't need to accept the "whites only" theory of equality pushed by conservative judges. You can read this book to understand that the Constitution is trash, but doesn't have to be.

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States

America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States

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This definitive history of American xenophobia is "essential reading for anyone who wants to build a more inclusive society" (Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times-bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist). The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their "strange and foreign ways." Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called browning of America. Forcing us to confront this history, Lee explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America. Now updated with an epilogue reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged xenophobia, America for Americans is an urgent spur to action for any concerned citizen.

This definitive history of American xenophobia is "essential reading for anyone who wants to build a more inclusive society" (Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times-bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist). The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. But it is also a nation of xenophobia. In America for Americans, Erika Lee shows that an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their "strange and foreign ways." Americans' anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese incarcerated, and Mexicans deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called browning of America. Forcing us to confront this history, Lee explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America. Now updated with an epilogue reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged xenophobia, America for Americans is an urgent spur to action for any concerned citizen. 

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence

American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence

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Pauline Maier shows us the Declaration as both the defining statement of our national identity and the moral standard by which we live as a nation. It is truly "American Scripture, " and Maier tells us how it came to be -- from the Declaration's birth in the hard and tortuous struggle by which Americans arrived at Independence to the ways in which, in the nineteenth century, the document itself became sanctified.
Maier describes the transformation of the Second Continental Congress into a national government, unlike anything that preceded or followed it, and with more authority than the colonists would ever have conceded to the British Parliament; the great difficulty in making the decision for Independence; the influence of Paine's "Common Sense," which shifted the terms of debate; and the political maneuvers that allowed Congress to make the momentous decision.
In Maier's hands, the Declaration of Independence is brought close to us. She lets us hear the voice of the people as revealed in the other "declarations" of 1776: the local resolutions -- most of which have gone unnoticed over the past two centuries -- that explained, advocated, and justified Independence and undergirded Congress's work. Detective-like, she discloses the origins of key ideas and phrases in the Declaration and unravels the complex story of its drafting and of the group-editing job which angered Thomas Jefferson.
Maier also reveals what happened to the Declaration after the signing and celebration: how it was largely forgotten and then revived to buttress political arguments of the nineteenth century; and, most important, how Abraham Lincoln ensured its persistence as a living force in American society.Finally, she shows how by the very act of venerating the Declaration as we do -- by holding it as sacrosanct, akin to holy writ -- we may actually be betraying its purpose and its power.
Americans and the Holocaust

Americans and the Holocaust

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What did the American people and the US government know about the threats posed by Nazi Germany? What could have been done to stop the rise of Nazism in Germany and its assault on Europe's Jews?

Americans and the Holocaust explores these enduring questions by gathering together more than one hundred primary sources that reveal how Americans debated their responsibility to respond to Nazism. Drawing on groundbreaking research conducted for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Americans and the Holocaust exhibition, these carefully chosen sources help readers understand how Americans' responses to Nazism were shaped by the challenging circumstances in the United States during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including profound economic crisis, fear of communism, pervasive antisemitism and racism, and widespread isolationism.

Collecting newspaper and magazine articles, popular culture materials, and government records, Americans and the Holocaust is a valuable resource for students and historians seeking to shed light on this dark era in world history.

To explore further, visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's digital exhibit, available here: https: //exhibitions.ushmm.org/americans-and-the-holocaust

Published in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.