Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America - Patrick Phillips

Staff Pick

The author of this important and timely book grew up in Forsyth County, Georgia, an island of white supremacy for almost a century that remained untouched by the civil rights movement. How that happened is a powerful, complicated, and horrifying story of racial cleansing that writer and poet Patrick Phillips tells as a white man seeking the truth about his own roots. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W.W. Norton, $26.95) examines in vivid and often lyrical detail the events that led to the forcible and violent expulsion of virtually all black people in the county in 1912—many of whom had lived and worked there for generations—and the decades of exclusion that followed. Change finally came to Forsyth with the 21st century, but even today the legacy of racial cleansing simmers beneath the surface. Courageous, beautifully written, and rich in its detailed reporting, Phillips records a genuine but depressing slice of American history whose repercussions continue to be felt in our country today.

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America By Patrick Phillips Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393293012
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 20th, 2016

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets - Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich

Staff Pick

The world should thank the Nobel committee of 2015 for calling its attention to Svetlana Alexievich. A previously little known Belarusian journalist with a remarkable talent for oral history, Alexievich is an unconventional choice in a field of novelists and poets. Yet her books have the complex plots, memorable characters, lyricism, pathos, and truth of any great literary work. This is especially the case with the wrenching Secondhand Time (Random House, $30). Assembling hundreds of interviews conducted since the end of the Soviet era, Alexievich worked to “admit feelings into history.” As she talked to workers and students, victims and executioners, heroes and parents, she tapped into an almost overwhelming vein of emotion; her subjects laugh and cry at once. They give way to cathartic outbursts worthy of the classical tragedies. They exclaim that they’ve never told anyone these things before. Some stories have been repressed for decades, other are as fresh as the ethnic divisions of today’s headlines; all carry an irresistible intensity and urgency. Together, they reflect the “sheer schizophrenia” of this moment in Russian history, when the older generation regrets the lost idealism of communism, defends the “socialist idea,” and wonders if “instead of a motherland, we live in a huge supermarket,” while younger people are impatient with tradition, dismissing the great “Russian novels” because they ”don’t teach you how to become successful, how to get rich.” Can a land of such sharply discordant views cohere? Maybe. When Alexievich abandons individual interviews and records the diverse statements she overhears at public events, the result isn’t incoherence or non sequitur but a monologue as eloquent and compelling as any.

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translator) Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780399588808
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - May 24th, 2016

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by) Cover Image
By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780399588822
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 21st, 2017

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography - Elaine Showalter

Staff Pick

Julia Ward Howe is best known for having written “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and history and literary buffs may also recognize her as poet, abolitionist, and advocate for women’s suffrage. But until now far less has been written about the depths of her misery in marriage, her secret writings or, on a brighter note, her proximity to the cultural and political leaders of her day. The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe (Simon & Schuster, $28) by the superb literary critic and author Elaine Showalter, immerses readers in Howe’s public and private worlds – her civil wars. Seeing Howe through the lens of history, and with an honest but compassionate eye, Showalter describes her subject’s gallant but often tenuous attempts to match her great gifts, ambitions, and opinions against the challenges and expectations placed on women in nineteenth-century America. Part biography, part history, part social criticism, this is narrative non-fiction at its best – a story that tells a bigger story, one that engages the reader so deeply and on so many levels that, once you start reading, you won’t want to put it down.

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography By Elaine Showalter Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781451645903
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 8th, 2016

The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: A Biography By Elaine Showalter Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781451645910
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 28th, 2017

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