History

Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till

Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till

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The world knows the story of young Emmett Till. In August 1955, the fourteen-year-old Chicago boy supposedly flirted with a white woman named Carolyn Bryant, who worked behind the counter of a country store, while visiting family in Mississippi. Three days later, his mangled body was recovered in the Tallahatchie River, weighed down by a cotton-gin fan. Till's killers, Bryant's husband and his half-brother, were eventually acquitted on technicalities by an all-white jury despite overwhelming evidence. It seemed another case of Southern justice.

Then details of what had happened to Till became public, which they did in part because Emmett's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted that his casket remain open during his funeral. The world saw the horror, and Till's story gripped the country and sparked outrage. Black journalists drove down to Mississippi and risked their lives interviewing townsfolk, encouraging witnesses, spiriting those in danger out of the region, and above all keeping the news cycle turning. It continues to turn. In 2005, fifty years after the murder, the FBI reopened the case. New papers and testimony have come to light, and several participants, including Till's mother, have published autobiographies. Using this new evidence and a broadened historical context, Elliott J. Gorn delves more fully than anyone has into how and why the story of Emmett Till still resonates, and always will. Till's murder marked a turning point, Gorn shows, and yet also reveals how old patterns of thought and behavior endure, and why we must look hard at them.

Library: A Fragile History

Library: A Fragile History

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Perfect for book lovers, this is a fascinating exploration of the history of libraries and the people who built them, from the ancient world to the digital age.

Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes, or filled with bean bags and children's drawings--the history of the library is rich, varied, and stuffed full of incident. In The Library, historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world's great collections, trace the rise and fall of literary tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors committed in pursuit of rare manuscripts. In doing so, they reveal that while collections themselves are fragile, often falling into ruin within a few decades, the idea of the library has been remarkably resilient as each generation makes--and remakes--the institution anew.

Beautifully written and deeply researched, The Library is essential reading for booklovers, collectors, and anyone who has ever gotten blissfully lost in the stacks.

Life in Roman London

Life in Roman London

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The history of Roman London approached in an entirely new way, focusing on the geography of daily life The rise and fall of one of the most important Roman cities in northern Europe is charted graphically by the use of maps and diagrams, showing at a glance the various stages in its development. Rather than focusing upon a handful of important figures such as procurators and statesmen, this book explores the lives and concerns of the ordinary citizens. Many books about Roman history seem to be preoccupied with basilicas, palaces, grand houses, statues, and mosaics; this book looks instead at the shops, houses, and streets in which the majority of the 60,000 inhabitants of the city spent their lives. In doing so, it reveals a city very different from the familiar images of a clean, white, classical metropolis.
The history of Roman London approached in an entirely new way, focusing on the geography of daily life
The rise and fall of one of the most important Roman cities in northern Europe is charted graphically by the use of maps and diagrams, showing at a glance the various stages in its development. Rather than focusing upon a handful of important figures such as procurators and statesmen, this book explores the lives and concerns of the ordinary citizens. Many books about Roman history seem to be preoccupied with basilicas, palaces, grand houses, statues, and mosaics; this book looks instead at the shops, houses, and streets in which the majority of the 60,000 inhabitants of the city spent their lives. In doing so, it reveals a city very different from the familiar images of a clean, white, classical metropolis.
LITTLE DEVIL IN AMERICA: NOTES

LITTLE DEVIL IN AMERICA: NOTES

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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST - "A masterpiece" (Minneapolis Star Tribune), a "devastating" (The New York Times) meditation on Black performance in America from the MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellow and bestselling author of Go Ahead in the Rain

WINNER OF THE GORDON BURN PRIZE - LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL - LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD - ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Dallas Morning News, Publishers Weekly - ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Time, The Boston Globe, NPR, Esquire, BuzzFeed, BookRiot, BookPage, The Rumpus, Library Journal

"Gorgeous essays that reveal the resilience, heartbreak, and joy within Black performance."--Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. "I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too," she told the crowd. Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines--whether it's the twenty-seven seconds in "Gimme Shelter" in which Merry Clayton wails the words "rape, murder," a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt--has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib's own personal history of love, grief, and performance.

Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians he loves. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space--from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.

At the March on Washington in 1963, Josephine Baker was fifty-seven years old, well beyond her most prolific days. But in her speech she was in a mood to consider her life, her legacy, her departure from the country she was now triumphantly returning to. “I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too,” she told the crowd. Inspired by these few words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance.

Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain, infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians he loves. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space—from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.

LONDON: A SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

LONDON: A SOCIAL AND CULTURAL

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Between 1550 and 1750 London became the greatest city in Europe and one of the most vibrant economic and cultural centers in the world. This book is a history of London during this crucial period of its rise to world-wide prominence, during which it dominated the economic, political, social and cultural life of the British Isles as never before nor since. London: A Social and Cultural History incorporates the best recent work in urban history, accounts by contemporary Londoners and tourists, and fictional works featuring the city in order to to trace London's rise and explore its role as a harbinger of modernity as well as how its citizens coped with those achievements. This book covers the full range of life in London, from the splendid galleries of Whitehall to the damp and sooty alleyways of the East End. Along the way, readers will brave the dangers of plague and fire, witness the spectacles of the Lord Mayor's Pageant and the hangings at Tyburn, and take refreshment in the city's pleasure gardens, coffeehouses, and taverns.
MAN WHO HATED WOMEN: SEX, CENS

MAN WHO HATED WOMEN: SEX, CENS

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Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Best History Books of 2021 - Fascinating . . . Purity is in the mind of the beholder, but beware the man who vows to protect yours." --Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker

Anthony Comstock, special agent to the U.S. Post Office, was one of the most important men in the lives of nineteenth-century women. His eponymous law, passed in 1873, penalized the mailing of contraception and obscenity with long sentences and steep fines. The word Comstockery came to connote repression and prudery.

Between 1873 and Comstock's death in 1915, eight remarkable women were charged with violating state and federal Comstock laws. These "sex radicals" supported contraception, sexual education, gender equality, and women's right to pleasure. They took on the fearsome censor in explicit, personal writing, seeking to redefine work, family, marriage, and love for a bold new era. In The Man Who Hated Women, Amy Sohn tells the overlooked story of their valiant attempts to fight Comstock in court and in the press. They were publishers, writers, and doctors, and they included the first woman presidential candidate, Victoria C. Woodhull; the virgin sexologist Ida C. Craddock; and the anarchist Emma Goldman. In their willingness to oppose a monomaniac who viewed reproductive rights as a threat to the American family, the sex radicals paved the way for second-wave feminism. Risking imprisonment and death, they redefined birth control access as a civil liberty.

The Man Who Hated Women brings these women's stories to vivid life, recounting their personal and romantic travails alongside their political battles. Without them, there would be no Pill, no Planned Parenthood, no Roe v. Wade. This is the forgotten history of the women who waged war to control their bodies.

MEASURE OF MAN: LIBERTY, VIRTU

MEASURE OF MAN: LIBERTY, VIRTU

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It was one of the most concentrated surges of creativity in the history of civilization. Between 1390 and 1537, Florence poured forth an astonishing stream of magnificent artworks. But Florentines did more during this brief period than create masterpieces. As citizens of a fractious republic threatened from below, without, and within, they also were driven to reimagine the political and ethical basis of their world, exploring the meaning and possibilities of liberty, virtue, and beauty. This vibrant era is brought to life in rich detail by noted historian Lawrence Rothfield in The Measure of Man. His highly readable account introduces readers to a city teeming with memorable individuals and audacious risk-takers, capable of producing works of the most serene beauty and acts of the most shocking violence. Rothfield's cast of characters includes book hunters and book burners, devout Christians and assassins, humble pharmacists and arrogant oligarchs, all caught up in a dramatic struggle--a tragic arc running from the cultural heights of republican idealism in the early fifteenth century, through the aesthetic flowerings and civic vicissitudes of the age of the Medici and Savonarola, to the brooding meditations of Machiavelli and Michelangelo over the fate of the dying republic.
MUSEUM OF OBJECTS BURNED BY TH

MUSEUM OF OBJECTS BURNED BY TH

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Titled after a small gallery of the same name found in Rome, the poems are devoted to meditations on religious relics and works of art. They explore the narrative power these objects carry--the way we imbue totemic figures with both meaning and story, and the potential they have to define the world.
MUTINOUS WOMEN: HOW FRENCH CON

MUTINOUS WOMEN: HOW FRENCH CON

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The secret history of the rebellious Frenchwomen who were exiled to colonial Louisiana and found power in the Mississippi Valley

In 1719, a ship named La Mutine (the mutinous woman), sailed from the French port of Le Havre, bound for the Mississippi. It was loaded with urgently needed goods for the fledgling French colony, but its principal commodity was a new kind of export: women.

Falsely accused of sex crimes, these women were prisoners, shackled in the ship's hold. Of the 132 women who were sent this way, only 62 survived. But these women carved out a place for themselves in the colonies that would have been impossible in France, making advantageous marriages and accumulating property. Many were instrumental in the building of New Orleans and in settling Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, and Mississippi.

Drawing on an impressive range of sources to restore the voices of these women to the historical record, Mutinous Women introduces us to the Gulf South's Founding Mothers.

Negro Motorist Green Book Compendium

Negro Motorist Green Book Compendium

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You've heard the tales, you've watched the movie, but have you seen The Green Book? During the dangerous days of Jim Crow segregation, it was difficult to be an African-American traveler, as hotels that would take you or restaurants that would serve you were few and far between. This was addressed by The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual listing of lodging, diners, gas stations, and other businesses that could handle the needs of the Black customer. Created in 1936 by Harlem-based postman Victor H. Green, the Green Book served the public until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s ended legal segregation. Original copies of the Green Book are now museum pieces, but in this book you can see all the articles, all the ads, and all the listings from four editions of the Green Book, one for each decade in which the series was published. The Negro Motorist Green Book of 1938 is an early example, covering only the states east of the Mississippi River, but also presenting articles on "The Automobile and What It Has Done for the American Negro" as well as driving tips. In 1947, the Negro Motorist Green Book had listings for 45 of the 48 states that then existed (there was nothing for Nevada, New Hampshire, or North Dakota), and that also included directories of the Negro colleges and newspapers of the day, as well as a look at the current models from Ford and GM, and some notes on automotive design of the future. By 1954, the title had changed to The Negro Travelers' Green Book, and the volume includes an article on the highlights of San Francisco (which was "fast becoming the focal point of the Negroes' future") and tourist guides to New York City and Bermuda. Finally, the Travelers' Green Book for 1963 through 1964 leads off with a state-by-state listings of rights against "jimcro" (Jim Crow segregation), plus it has "Guide Posts for a Pleasant Trip," a couple of cartoon-illustrated sidebars on Black history-makers, a listing of major league ballparks, and other useful items for the traveler. And all of it reproduced at about 50% larger than the original size, for easier reading. Reprints of the Green Book published by About Comics have gotten coverage by Newsweek, the Guardian, and BBC News, and more. They are carried by major museums, and have been used by TV and film. Now you can get four editions in one convenient volume, and see why the New York Times called the Green Book a "beacon for Black travelers."