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State & Local History


Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy

Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy Lowest new price: $19.37
Lowest used price: $20.81
List price: $28.99
Author: Ethan J. Kytle

Named one of “17 Refreshing Books to Read This Summer” by The New York Times

“A fascinating and important new historical study.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“A stunning contribution to the historiography of Civil War memory studies.”
—Civil War Times

“Denmark Vesey’s Garden reveals that the long struggle over how Americans remember slavery has been inseparable from the long struggle for racial justice.”
—Ibram X. Kendi

“ Kytle and Roberts’s meticulous research, compelling writing, and thoughtful analysis are vital to our nation at a time when we were haunted by a history we need to understand more deeply.”
—Bryan Stevenson

“Eye-opening history.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In the tradition of James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, a deeply researched book that uncovers competing histories of how slavery is remembered in Charleston, South Carolina—the heart of Dixie

A book that strikes at the heart of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey’s Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the heart of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the U.S. slave population stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof shot nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the congregation of Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822.

As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to preserve a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was.

Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and whitewashed historical tourism, Denmark Vesey’s Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War all the way to contemporary times, where two segregated tourism industries still reflect these opposing impressions of the past, exposing a hidden dimension of America’s deep racial divide. Denmark Vesey’s Garden joins the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting new interpretations of slavery’s enduring legacy in the United States.

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Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation Lowest new price: $8.62
Lowest used price: $1.42
List price: $17.95
Author: John Ehle

A sixth-generation North Carolinian, highly-acclaimed author John Ehle grew up on former Cherokee hunting grounds. His experience as an accomplished novelist, combined with his extensive, meticulous research, culminates in this moving tragedy rich with historical detail.

The Cherokee are a proud, ancient civilization. For hundreds of years they believed themselves to be the "Principle People" residing at the center of the earth. But by the 18th century, some of their leaders believed it was necessary to adapt to European ways in order to survive. Those chiefs sealed the fate of their tribes in 1875 when they signed a treaty relinquishing their land east of the Mississippi in return for promises of wealth and better land. The U.S. government used the treaty to justify the eviction of the Cherokee nation in an exodus that the Cherokee will forever remember as the “trail where they cried.” The heroism and nobility of the Cherokee shine through this intricate story of American politics, ambition, and greed.


B & W photographs

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Lowest new price: $5.55
Lowest used price: $0.10
List price: $28.00
Author: John Berendt
Brand: Random House

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981.  Was it murder or self-defense?  For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.  John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction.  Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.



It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight.  These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.



Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story is a sublime and seductive reading experience.  Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city is certain to become a modern classic.

Voodoo. Decadent socialites packing Lugars. Cotillions. With towns like Savannah, Georgia, who needs Fellini? Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil takes two narrative strands--each worthy of its own book--and weaves them together to make a single fascinating tale. The first is author John Berendt's loving depiction of the characters and rascals that prowled Savannah in the eight years it was his home-away-from-home. "Eccentrics thrive in Savannah," he writes, and proves the point by introducing Luther Diggers, a thwarted inventor who just might be plotting to poison the town's water supply; Joe Odom, a jovial jackleg lawyer and squatter nonpareil; and, most memorably, the Lady Chablis, whom you really should meet for yourself. Then, on May 2, 1981, the book's second story line commences, when Jim Williams, a wealthy antique dealer and Savannah's host with the most, kills his "friend" Danny Hansford. (If those quotes make you suspect something, you should.) Was it self-defense, as Williams claimed--or murder? The book sketches four separate trials, during which the dark side of this genteel party town is well and truly plumbed.

Features:

  • Random House NY

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The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska

The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska Lowest new price: $13.62
Lowest used price: $10.00
List price: $18.95
Author: John W. DeCamp
Brand: Brand: A W T, Incorporated

The shut-down of Omaha, Nebraska's Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, raided by federal agencies in November 1988, sent shock waves all the way to Washington, D.C. $40 million was missing. The credit union's manager: Republican Party activist Lawrence E. "Larry" King, Jr., behind whose rise to fame and riches stood powerful figures in Nebraska politics and business, and in the nation's capital.

In the face of opposition from local and state law enforcement, from the FBI, and from the powerful Omaha World-Herald newspaper, a special Franklin committee of the Nebraska Legislature launched its own probe. What looked like a financial swindle, soon exploded into a hideous tale of drugs, Iran-Contra money-laundering, a nationwide child abuse ring, and ritual murder.

Nineteen months later, the legislative committee's chief investigator died - suddenly, and violently, like more than a dozen other people linked to the Franklin case.

Author John DeCamp knows the Franklin scandal from the inside. In 1990, his "DeCamp memo" first publicly named the alleged high-ranking abusers. Today, he is attorney for two of the abuse victims.

Using documentation never before made public, DeCamp lays bare not only the crimes, but the cover-up - a textbook case of how dangerous the corruption of institutions of government, and the press, can be. In its sweep and in what it portends for the nation, the Franklin cover-up followed the ugly precedent of the Warren Commission.

Features:

  • Used Book in Good Condition

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Milwaukee: A City Built on Water

Milwaukee: A City Built on Water Lowest new price: $21.00
Lowest used price: $56.32
List price: $28.95
Author: John Gurda

Paddle through the watery history of the Midwest’s Cream City. 

The success and survival of Milwaukee lies in the rivers that meander through its streets and the great lake at its shore. The area’s earliest inhabitants recognized the value of an abundant, clean water supply for food and transportation. Settlers, shipbuilders, and city leaders used the same waters to travel greater distances, power million-dollar industries, and even have a bit of fun. 

In Milwaukee: A City Built on Water, celebrated historian John Gurda expands on his popular Milwaukee Public Television documentary, relating the mucky history of the waters that gave Milwaukee life—and occasionally threatened the city through erosion, invasive species, and water-borne diseases.

Telling tales of brewers, brickmakers, ecologists, and engineers, Gurda explores the city’s complicated connection with its most precious resource and greatest challenge. You’ll meet the generations of people, from a Potawatomi chief to fur traders and fishermen, who settled on the small spit of land known as Jones Island; learn how Milwaukee’s unique water composition creates its distinct cream-colored bricks; visit Wisconsin’s first waterparks; and see how city leaders transformed the Milwaukee River—once described as a “vast sewer” with an “odorous tide”—into today’s lively and lovely Riverwalk.
 

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The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company- And Won

The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company- And Won Lowest new price: $8.00
Lowest used price: $1.98
List price: $14.95
Author: Gerald M. Stern
Brand: Stern, Gerald M.

One Saturday morning in February 1972, an impoundment dam owned by the Pittston Coal Company burst, sending a 130 million gallon, 25 foot tidal wave of water, sludge, and debris crashing into southern West Virginia's Buffalo Creek hollow. It was one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history. 125 people were killed instantly, more than 1,000 were injured, and over 4,000 were suddenly homeless. Instead of accepting the small settlements offered by the coal company's insurance offices, a few hundred of the survivors banded together to sue. This is the story of their triumph over incredible odds and corporate irresponsibility, as told by Gerald M. Stern, who as a young lawyer and took on the case and won.

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Detroit: An American Autopsy

Detroit: An American Autopsy Lowest new price: $6.99
Lowest used price: $1.90
List price: $18.00
Author: Charlie LeDuff
Brand: Penguin Books

An explosive exposé of America’s lost prosperity—from Pulitzer Prize­–winning journalist Charlie LeDuff
 
Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family’s troubled past. Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass-production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark, and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses, LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. He beats on the doors of union bosses and homeless squatters, powerful businessmen and struggling homeowners and the ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination. Detroit: An American Autopsy is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.

Features:

  • Penguin Books

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The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities

The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities Lowest new price: $9.12
Lowest used price: $6.12
List price: $17.00
Author: Lawrence C. Ross Jr.
Brand: Brand: Kensington

National Bestseller!

America’s black fraternities and sororities are a unique and vital part of 20th century African American history, providing young black achievers with opportunities to support each other while they serve their communities and the nation.

From pioneering work in the suffragette movement to extraordinary strides during the Civil Rights era to life-changing inner-city mentoring programs in the 1990s, members of these organizations share a proud and vital history of brotherhood, sisterhood, and service.

Today, America’s nine black fraternities and sororities are almost three million members strong with chapters at major universities and colleges, including Stanford University, Howard University, and University of Chicago.

This revised and updated edition includes details highlighting the Centennial celebrations for both Alpha Phi Alpa and Alpha Kappa Alpha; updated photographs; new statistics; celebrity interviews, a new foreword, and much more.

Includes Interviews With Famous Members Of The Divine Nine—
From John H. Johnson and Dr. Gwendolyn Goldsby-Grant to Star Jones and Shaquille O’Neal

Plus Inspiring Profiles Of Other Famous Members—
From Langston Hughes and Ella Fitzgerald to Toni Morrison and Colin Powell

Fully Illustrated With Fascinating Photographs!

Features:

  • Used Book in Good Condition

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Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, 2nd Edition

Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, 2nd Edition Lowest new price: $10.99
Lowest used price: $8.07
List price: $18.95
Author: Lee H. Whittlesey
Brand: Roberts Rinehart Publishers

The chilling tome that launched an entire genre of books about the often gruesome but always tragic ways people have died in our national parks, this updated edition of the classic includes calamities in Yellowstone from the past sixteen years, including the infamous grizzly bear attacks in the summer of 2011 as well as a fatal hot springs accident in 2000. In these accounts, written with sensitivity as cautionary tales about what to do and what not to do in one of our wildest national parks, Whittlesey recounts deaths ranging from tragedy to folly—from being caught in a freak avalanche to the goring of a photographer who just got a little too close to a bison. Armchair travelers and park visitors alike will be fascinated by this important book detailing the dangers awaiting in our first national park.

Features:

  • Roberts Rinehart Publishers

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Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland

Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland Lowest new price: $9.52
Lowest used price: $4.38
List price: $16.00
Author: Dave Barry

A New York Times bestseller—a brilliantly funny exploration of the Sunshine State from the man who knows it best: Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry.

We never know what will happen next in Florida. We know only that, any minute now, something will. Every few months, Dave Barry gets a call from some media person wanting to know, “What the hell is wrong with Florida?” Somehow, the state's acquired an image as a subtropical festival of stupid, and as a loyal Floridian, Dave begs to differ.

Join him as he goes in hunt of the legendary Skunk Ape; hobnobs with the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs; and visits Cassadaga, the psychic capital of the world, to have his dog's aura read (apparently, she's "very spiritual"). Hitch a ride for the non-stop thrills of alligator-wrestling ("the gators display the same fighting spirit as a Barcalounger"), the hair-raising spectacle of a clothing-optional bar in Key West, and the manly manliness of the Machine Gun Experience in Miami.

It's the most hilarious book yet from “the funniest damn writer in the whole country” (Carl Hiaasen, and he should know). By the end, you'll have to admit that whatever else you might think about Florida—you can never say it's boring.

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