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State & Local History


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America Lowest new price: $6.21
Lowest used price: $1.35
List price: $16.95
Author: Erik Larson
Brand: Erik Larson

Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims. Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, seems like an odd choice but it works. The magical appeal and horrifying dark side of 19th-century Chicago are both revealed through Larson's skillful writing. --John Moe

Features:

  • Chicago Exposition
  • Nineteenth Century
  • True Crime
  • Serial Killer
  • Thriller

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In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood Lowest new price: $8.16
Lowest used price: $1.99
List price: $16.00
Author: Truman Capote
Brand: Truman Capote

National Bestseller 

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.

Features:

  • Great book!

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Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 1: To 1877

Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 1: To 1877 Lowest new price: $49.88
Lowest used price: $32.89
List price: $59.95
Author: James Oakes

Of the People: A History of the United States, Third Edition, not only tells the history of America--of its people and places, of its dealings and ideals--but it also unfolds the story of American democracy, carefully marking how this country's evolution has been anything but certain, from its complex beginnings to its modern challenges. This comprehensive survey focuses on the social and political lives of people--some famous, some ordinary--revealing the compelling story of America's democracy from an individual perspective, from across the landscapes of diverse communities, and ultimately from within the larger context of the world.

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Humans of New York : Stories

Humans of New York : Stories Lowest new price: $12.99
Lowest used price: $3.98
List price: $29.99
Author: Brandon Stanton
Brand: St Martin s Press

Now a #1 New York Times Bestseller! In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project -to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the blog Humans of New York. His audience steadily grew from a few hundred followers to, at present count, over eighteen million. In 2013, his book Humans of New York, based on that blog, was published and immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List where it has appeared for over forty-five weeks. Now, Brandon is back with the Humans of New York book that his loyal followers have been waiting for: Humans of New York: Stories. Ever since Brandon began interviewing people on the streets of New York, the dialogue he's had with them has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Humans of New York: Stories presents a whole new group of people in stunning photographs, with a rich design and, most importantly, longer stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candor. Let Brandon Stanton and the Humans of New York he's photographed astonish you all over again.

Features:

  • St Martin s Press

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Janesville: An American Story

Janesville: An American Story Lowest new price: $10.55
Lowest used price: $10.65
List price: $16.00
Author: Amy Goldstein

* Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award Winner
* A New York Times Notable Book
* NPR Best Books of 2017

“A gripping story of psychological defeat and resilience” (Bob Woodward, The Washington Post)—an intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its main factory shuts down—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Amy Goldstein spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, Goldstein shows the consequences of one of America’s biggest political issues. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

“Moving and magnificently well-researched...Janesville joins a growing family of books about the evisceration of the working class in the United States. What sets it apart is the sophistication of its storytelling and analysis” (Jennifer Senior, The New York Times).

“Anyone tempted to generalize about the American working class ought to meet the people in Janesville. The reporting behind this book is extraordinary and the story—a stark, heartbreaking reminder that political ideologies have real consequences—is told with rare sympathy and insight” (Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of a New Machine).

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S Is for Southern: A Guide to the South, from Absinthe to Zydeco

S Is for Southern: A Guide to the South, from Absinthe to Zydeco Lowest new price: $20.00
Lowest used price: $18.49
List price: $45.00
Author: Editors of Garden and Gun

From the New York Times bestselling authors at Garden & Gun comes a lively compendium of Southern tradition and contemporary culture.

The American South is a diverse region with its own vocabulary, peculiarities, and complexities. Tennessee whiskey may technically be bourbon, but don’t let anyone in Kentucky hear you call it that. And while boiling blue crabs may be the norm across the Lowcountry in South Carolina and Georgia, try that in front of Marylanders and they’re likely to put you in the pot.

Now, from the editors of Garden & Gun comes this illustrated encyclopedia covering age-old traditions and current culture. S Is for Southern contains nearly five hundred entries spanning every letter of the alphabet, with essays from notable Southern writers including:

  • Roy Blount, Jr., on humidity
  • Frances Mayes on the magnolia
  • Jessica B. Harris on field peas
  • Rick Bragg on Harper Lee
  • Jon Meacham on the Civil War
  • Allison Glock on Dolly Parton
  • Randall Kenan on Edna Lewis
  • The Lee Brothers on boiled peanuts
  • Jonathan Miles on Larry Brown
  • Julia Reed on the Delta

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Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 2: Since 1865

Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 2: Since 1865 Lowest new price: $53.27
Lowest used price: $38.29
List price: $59.95
Author: James Oakes

Of the People: A History of the United States, Third Edition, not only tells the history of America--of its people and places, of its dealings and ideals--but it also unfolds the story of American democracy, carefully marking how this country's evolution has been anything but certain, from its complex beginnings to its modern challenges. This comprehensive survey focuses on the social and political lives of people--some famous, some ordinary--revealing the compelling story of America's democracy from an individual perspective, from across the landscapes of diverse communities, and ultimately from within the larger context of the world.

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Humans of New York

Humans of New York Lowest new price: $11.30
Lowest used price: $2.81
List price: $29.99
Author: Brandon Stanton
Brand: Brandon Stanton

Based on the blog with more than four million loyal fans, a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, and inspiring collection of photographs and stories capturing the spirit of a city

Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.

The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers. Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.

Surprising and moving, printed in a beautiful full-color, hardbound edition, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.


With 400 full-color photos and a distinctive vellum jacket

The Top 5 Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton's thousands of not-quite-candid street portraits of New Yorkers (and accompanying captions, usually from the subjects themselves) have made his Humans of New York blog both poignant and extremely popular--as well as garnering him recognition as one of Time magazine's "30 People Under 30 Changing the World." This book of the same title collects 400 of his best portraits, telling small stories that are outsized in their humor, candor, and humanity. It was also our number one pick for the best books of the year in Photography.

Here are Stanton's own top five favorite images, accompanied by his own words. Click on the images to see larger versions, and learn more about Humans of New York. It also makes a wonderful gift for any of the humans in your life.

-- Jon Foro

 

1) Ironically, some of the best quotes come from the people who have the least amount of time to talk to me. She told me: "I can't talk, because these shadows are changing every second." Normally I'm a bit downtrodden if I'm unable to interview a subject, but I thought her 'brush-off' was the perfect complement to the photo.

Click here for a larger image
 
 

2) I always cite this photo as representing the most emotional interaction that I've ever had on the street. I came across this 100 year old woman just south of Central Park. She was walking in a rainstorm with a very bright umbrella. After I took her photo, I got under the umbrella with her, and asked her for one piece of advice. She said: "I'll tell you what my husband told me when he was dying. I asked him: 'Mo, how am I supposed to live without you?' And he told me: 'Take the love you have for me and spread it around.'"

Click here for a larger image
 
 

3) I was walking through Chelsea one morning when I noticed someone rolling around in the middle of the street. Of course I started running toward the scene, and when I arrived, I found this drag queen. Apparently she had been performing a song at a nearby bar, and at the climax of her performance, ran into the street and threw her tips into the air. I joke that this photo captures more elements of New York than any other I've taken.

Click here for a larger image
 
 

4) I love this photo because of the variety of expressions that I managed to capture. I found these kids in the Lower East Side, making the most of a hot summer day. Right before I took the photo, one of the kids leaned a little too far forwards and started spilling water from the pool. This created a variety of different responses from his fellow swimmers.

Click here for a larger image
 
 

5) The young boy seemed so unwilling to participate in the portrait, that at first it seemed like a photo would be impossible. But his shyness ended up coming through beautifully, creating a portrait of the relationship between mother and son.

Click here for a larger image
 

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: The thing that always amazes me about New York is that it works at all: so many people, stacked on top of each other in apartments or wedged side-by-side on the streets, that it once seemed--to my admittedly West Coast eyes--that there could be no room to breathe, to stretch, to be human in such a seemingly inhumane environment. Even the garbage (the literal garbage; no Travis Bickle allusions here) is pushed to the sidewalk--there’s not even space between buildings to hide it. But once I’d been there--admittedly late--I understood that it’s the people themselves that make it work; that diversity and self-expression (not to mention the necessity) create a kind of space on their own. Brandon Stanton gets it. His thousands of not-quite-candid street portraits of New Yorkers (and accompanying captions, usually from the subjects themselves) have made his Humans of New York blog both poignant and extremely popular. And now, his book of the same title collects 400 of his best portraits, telling small stories that are outsized in their humor, candor, and humanity. As it turns out, inner-space is a dimension all its own, and it counts, too. --Jon Foro

Features:

  • Humans of New York

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The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America

The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America Lowest new price: $21.44
Lowest used price: $17.50
List price: $35.00
Author: Edward L. Ayers

A landmark Civil War history told from a fresh, deeply researched ground-level perspective.

At the crux of America’s history stand two astounding events: the immediate and complete destruction of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world, followed by a political reconstruction in which new constitutions established the fundamental rights of citizens for formerly enslaved people. Few people living in 1860 would have dared imagine either event, and yet, in retrospect, both seem to have been inevitable.

In a beautifully crafted narrative, Edward L. Ayers restores the drama of the unexpected to the history of the Civil War. He does this by setting up at ground level in the Great Valley counties of Augusta, Virginia, and Franklin, Pennsylvania, communities that shared a prosperous landscape but were divided by the Mason-Dixon Line. From the same vantage point occupied by his unforgettable characters, Ayers captures the strategic savvy of Lee and his local lieutenants, and the clear vision of equal rights animating black troops from Pennsylvania. We see the war itself become a scourge to the Valley, its pitched battles punctuating a cycle of vicious attack and reprisal in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. In the weeks and months after emancipation, from the streets of Staunton, Virginia, we see black and white residents testing the limits of freedom as political leaders negotiate the terms of readmission to the Union.

Ayers deftly shows throughout how the dynamics of political opposition drove these momentous events, transforming once unimaginable outcomes into fact. With analysis as powerful as its narrative, here is a landmark history of the Civil War.

30 illustrations; 10 maps

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The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (Chicago Studies in American Politics)

The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker (Chicago Studies in American Politics) Lowest new price: $28.44
Lowest used price: $30.38
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Author: Katherine J. Cramer
Brand: Cramer Katherine J

Since the election of Scott Walker, Wisconsin has been seen as ground zero for debates about the appropriate role of government in the wake of the Great Recession. In a time of rising inequality, Walker not only survived a bitterly contested recall that brought thousands of protesters to Capitol Square, he was subsequently reelected. How could this happen? How is it that the very people who stand to benefit from strong government services not only vote against the candidates who support those services but are vehemently against the very idea of big government?
           
With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country.

The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.

Features:

  • The Politics of Resentment Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker

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