History

A Mortuary of Books

A Mortuary of Books

$35.00
More Info

Winner, 2020 JDC-Herbert Katzki Award for Writing Based on Archival Material, given by the Jewish Book Council

The astonishing story of the efforts of scholars and activists to rescue Jewish cultural treasures after the Holocaust

In March 1946 the American Military Government for Germany established the Offenbach Archival Depot near Frankfurt to store, identify, and restore the huge quantities of Nazi-looted books, archival material, and ritual objects that Army members had found hidden in German caches. These items bore testimony to the cultural genocide that accompanied the Nazis' systematic acts of mass murder. The depot built a short-lived lieu de memoire-a "mortuary of books," as the later renowned historian Lucy Dawidowicz called it-with over three million books of Jewish origin coming from nineteen different European countries awaiting restitution.

A Mortuary of Books tells the miraculous story of the many Jewish organizations and individuals who, after the war, sought to recover this looted cultural property and return the millions of treasured objects to their rightful owners. Some of the most outstanding Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century, including Dawidowicz, Hannah Arendt, Salo W. Baron, and Gershom Scholem, were involved in this herculean effort. This led to the creation of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc., an international body that acted as the Jewish trustee for heirless property in the American Zone and transferred hundreds of thousands of objects from the Depot to the new centers of Jewish life after the Holocaust.

The commitment of these individuals to the restitution of cultural property revealed the importance of cultural objects as symbols of the enduring legacy of those who could not be saved. It also fostered Jewish culture and scholarly life in the postwar world.

AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HI

AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINX HI

$16.00
More Info

Spanning more than 200 years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the "Global South" was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like "manifest destiny" and "Jacksonian democracy", and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism. 

Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the 20th century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers' Day, when migrant laborers - Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth - united in resistance on the first "Day Without Immigrants". As African American civil rights activists fought Jim Crow laws and Mexican labor organizers warred against the suffocating grip of capitalism, Black and Spanish-language newspapers, abolitionists, and Latin American revolutionaries coalesced around movements built between people from the United States and people from Central America and the Caribbean. In stark contrast to the resurgence of "America First" rhetoric, Black and Latinx intellectuals and organizers today have historically urged the United States to build bridges of solidarity with the nations of the Americas. 

Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights.

AVENGERS OF THE NEW WORLD: THE

AVENGERS OF THE NEW WORLD: THE

$30.50
More Info

The first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas began in 1791 when thousands of brutally exploited slaves rose up against their masters on Saint-Domingue, the most profitable colony in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Within a few years, the slave insurgents forced the French administrators of the colony to emancipate them, a decision ratified by revolutionary Paris in 1794. This victory was a stunning challenge to the order of master/slave relations throughout the Americas, including the southern United States, reinforcing the most fervent hopes of slaves and the worst fears of masters.

But, peace eluded Saint-Domingue as British and Spanish forces attacked the colony. A charismatic ex-slave named Toussaint Louverture came to France's aid, raising armies of others like himself and defeating the invaders. Ultimately Napoleon, fearing the enormous political power of Toussaint, sent a massive mission to crush him and subjugate the ex-slaves. After many battles, a decisive victory over the French secured the birth of Haiti and the permanent abolition of slavery from the land. The independence of Haiti reshaped the Atlantic world by leading to the French sale of Louisiana to the United States and the expansion of the Cuban sugar economy.

Laurent Dubois weaves the stories of slaves, free people of African descent, wealthy whites, and French administrators into an unforgettable tale of insurrection, war, heroism, and victory. He establishes the Haitian Revolution as a foundational moment in the history of democracy and human rights.

Battle of Churubusco

Battle of Churubusco

$9.95
More Info
Today, Churubusco is a residential suburb of Mexico City. In 1847, it was the stronghold of the San Patricios, a motley battalion of soldiers ― even some runaway American slaves ― who deserted the United States Army for a just, if suicidal, cause. In this graphic novel, Ferraris uses a bold charcoal technique to tell their story through the eyes of Gaetano Rizzo (based on a real U.S. soldier). A 22-year-old Sicilian immigrant, he joins the U.S. Army, who has promised him citizenship and a parcel of land if he will fight to take California away from Mexico. Soon, he sees sees the cruelty he is being ordered to inflict is no different from what he had escaped from in his home country.
Beyond Words Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections

Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections

$65.00
More Info
Beyond Words accompanies a collaborative exhibition at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Harvard University's Houghton Library; and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Featuring illuminated manuscripts from nineteen Boston-area institutions, this catalog provides a sweeping overview of the history of the book in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as a guide to its production, illumination, functions, and readership. Entries by eighty-five international experts document, discuss, and reproduce more than two hundred and sixty manuscripts and early printed books, many of them little known before now. Beyond Words also explores the history of collecting such books in Boston, an uncharted chapter in the history of American taste.

Of broad appeal to scholars and amateur enthusiasts alike, this catalog documents one of the most ambitious exhibitions of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts ever to take place in North America.

CASTE (OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB): THE

CASTE (OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB): THE

$32.00
More Info
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST - "An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

NAMED THE #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People - The Washington Post - Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - O: The Oprah Magazine - NPR - Bloomberg - Christian Science Monitor - New York Post - The New York Public Library - Fortune - Smithsonian Magazine - Marie Claire - Town & Country - Slate - Library Journal - Kirkus Reviews - LibraryReads - PopMatters

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist - PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist - PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlist

"As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not."

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London

Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London

$24.95
More Info
Medieval London, like all premodern cities, had a largely immigrant population-only a small proportion of the inhabitants were citizens-and the newly arrived needed to be taught the civic culture of the city in order for that city to function peacefully. Ritual and ceremony played key roles in
this acculturation process. In Ceremony and Civility, Barbara A. Hanawalt shows how, in the late Middle Ages, London's elected officials and elites used ceremony and ritual to establish their legitimacy and power.

In a society in which hierarchical authority was most commonly determined by inheritance of title and office, or sanctified by ordination, civic officials who had been elected to their posts relied on rituals to cement their authority and dominance. Elections and inaugurations had to be very public
and visually distinct in order to quickly communicate with the masses: the robes of office needed to distinguish the officers so that everyone would know who they were. The result was a colorful civic pageantry.

Newcomers found their places within this structure in various ways. Apprentices entering the city to take up a trade were educated in civic culture by their masters. Gilds similarly used rituals, oath swearing, and distinctive livery to mark their members' belonging. But these public shows of
belonging and orderly civic life also had a dark side. Those who rebelled against authority and broke the civic ordinances were made spectacles through ritual humiliations and public parades through the streets so that others could take heed of these offenders of the law.

An accessible look at late medieval London through the lens of civic ceremonies and dispute resolution, Ceremony and Civility synthesizes archival research with existing scholarship to show how an ever-shifting population was enculturated into premodern London.

CHEESE AND THE WORMS

CHEESE AND THE WORMS

$25.95
More Info

The Cheese and the Worms is an incisive study of popular culture in the sixteenth century as seen through the eyes of one man, the miller known as Menocchio, who was accused of heresy during the Inquisition and sentenced to death. Carlo Ginzburg uses the trial records to illustrate the religious and social conflicts of the society Menocchio lived in.

For a common miller, Menocchio was surprisingly literate. In his trial testimony he made references to more than a dozen books, including the Bible, Boccaccio's Decameron, Mandeville's Travels, and a "mysterious" book that may have been the Koran. And what he read he recast in terms familiar to him, as in his own version of the creation: "All was chaos, that is earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and of that bulk a mass formed--just as cheese is made out of milk--and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels."

Ginzburg's influential book has been widely regarded as an early example of the analytic, case-oriented approach known as microhistory. In a thoughtful new preface, Ginzburg offers his own corollary to Menocchio's story as he considers the discrepancy between the intentions of the writer and what gets written. The Italian miller's story and Ginzburg's work continue to resonate with modern readers because they focus on how oral and written culture are inextricably linked. Menocchio's 500-year-old challenge to authority remains evocative and vital today.

CHURCHILL AND EMPIRE: A PORTRA

CHURCHILL AND EMPIRE: A PORTRA

$16.95
More Info
One of our finest narrative historians, Lawrence James has written a genuinely new biography of Winston Churchill, one focusing solely on his relationship with the British Empire. As a young army officer in the late nineteenth century serving in conflicts in India, South Africa, and the Sudan, his attitude toward the Empire was the Victorian paternalistic approach--at once responsible and superior. Conscious even then of his political career ahead, Churchill found himself reluctantly supporting British atrocities and held what many would regard today as prejudiced views, in that he felt that some nationalities were superior to others, his (some might say obsequious) relationship with America reflected that view. This outmoded attitude was one of the reasons the British voters rejected him after a Second World War in which he had led the country brilliantly. His attitude remained decidedly old-fashioned in a world that was shaping up very differently. This ground-breaking volume reveals the many facets of Churchill's personality: a visionary leader with a truly Victorian attitude toward the British Empire.
Colonial Comics Pt 2

Colonial Comics Pt 2

$29.95
More Info
A massacre in Boston. A tea party. A shot heard around the world. But who was the first casualty of the massacre? How did the tea get to Boston Harbor? What was the Battle of Concord like for a Minute Man? Colonial Comics: New England, 1750-1775 expands the frame of this important period of American history. Unconventional characters come to life, including gravedigging medical students, counterfeiters, female playwrights, instigators of civil disobedience, newspaper editors, college students, rum traders, freemen, and slaves.