Staff Pick

The Unwanted is the extensively researched and heart-wrenching story of Jewish families who, deported in 1940 from a small village near Germany’s Black Forest to camps in France, desperately sought American visas. While some made it to America, others didn’t and ended up dying in Auschwitz. As made clear by Michael Dobbs, a former Washington Post journalist now on the staff of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, many of the barriers to reaching the United States were raised by American authorities amid heated debates about immigration policy in a political climate marked by isolationism, anti-Semitism, and moral cowardice. This is not just a German story but also an America one, with lessons very relevant to our current times.

The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524733193
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - April 2nd, 2019

Staff Pick

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson upheld a Louisiana law mandating separate railroad cars. This ignominious ruling, effectively affirming the constitutionality of segregation, was one of the court’s worst and for more than half-a-century provided the legal foundation for the system of racial inequality known as Jim Crow. In Separate, Steve Luxenberg, a longtime Washington Post editor, not only engagingly recounts the stories of several key people involved in the case; he also persuasively portrays it as the culmination of a tumultuous six decades that stretched from the early struggles of Frederick Douglass and others to defy railcar segregation in the 1840s through the Civil War and emancipation years to the final repudiation of Reconstruction. 

Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393239379
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 12th, 2019

Staff Pick

 Each year some 13 million people are charged with such relatively petty offenses as jaywalking, trespassing, not buckling seat-belts, and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Most of those convicted for misdemeanors are poor and/or people of color and their cases are decided in minutes, with most defendants appearing in court without a lawyer and pleading guilty. They then find themselves in a spiral of fines, revoked drivers’ licenses, lost jobs, and criminal records. In Punishment Without Crime, Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at the University of California, provides a detailed analysis of this vast misdemeanor system and makes a compelling case for how unjust and flawed the system is. She urges a closer look at this sector of the criminal justice system and proposes a number of needed reforms.

Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465093793
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Basic Books - December 31st, 2018