What’s New in Nonfiction Books: History

Recently, many distinguished, interesting, or even outstanding nonfiction books have been published; books that received starred reviews in leading newspapers and captured readers’ interest.

Here are some of the latest library acquisitions of history books.

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson is one of those books that is both hailed by the critics and also has attracted numerous readers.

Deeply researched, the book explores and examines the American caste system that has shaped the country through its history and demonstrates the effects of the system on the country’s culture and politics. You can read a splendid review in The New York Times.

Reserve the print book or book on CD for Curbside Pickup, or the ebook or audiobook on Overdrive.

Isabel Wilkerson is also the author of The Warmth of Other Suns (2010), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. Publication of Caste revived an interest in her previous work and placed The Warmth of Other Suns on hold shelves again.

Reserve the print book or Playaway (audio format) for Curbside Pickup, or read the ebook on Overdrive. 

also available as a hoopla audiobook

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein (in print and ebook format) is another book on American history. This is the fourth book by the author, which concludes a saga about the rise of conservatism in modern American politics. The others that come before it are Before the Storm (print and hoopla audiobook), Nixonland, and The Invisible Bridge. The author examines the four years of the Carter administration (1976-1980), and shows how that time period created a Launchpad for conservatism that is still alive today. The New York Times reviewed the book.

The 20TH Annual Massachusetts Book Awards were recently announced, and the books below received nonfiction Honors:

American Radicals: How 19th-Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson explores the turbulent history of the nineteenth-century political activism and activists. Many names are forgotten today, but those people were influential in their time, and their work is associated with reformers such as Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cody Stanton.

The book was named one of Ten Best History Books of 2019. Check it out in ebook or audiobook format. 

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter by Kerri K. Greenidge is a very well researched, meticulously documented, and well-written biography of William Monroe Trotter, a Harvard-educated Black radical, and the founder, editor, and publisher of the weekly Boston Guardian that launched in 1901. Written by a Tufts University professor, the book offers a fresh perspective on African-American history.

Check out Black Radical in print, Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, or hoopla ebook

And here is yet another history book, which explores a fascinating subject: the history of hurricanes.

It is a particular pleasure to introduce this book, written by Eric Dolin, who is a successful nonfiction writer and resident of Marblehead. The Abbot Public Library has hosted several of his book presentations, including talks about his books Black Flags, Blue Waters and Brilliant Beacons.

A Furious Sky is Dolin’s latest book, which earned him very positive reviews, including from The New York Times. The author chronicles the history of American hurricanes from the 16th century through 2017, discusses their nature, and traces the development of hurricane science. He reflects on the American history and shows how hurricanes impacted it.

Reserve A Furious Sky in print, book on CD, or ebook format. He will be speaking about this book at the local Jewish Book Month, sponsored by the JCCNS, which will be held online starting on Tuesday, October 6th!

Other books by Eric Dolin include:

All books are available in print format or digital, very frequently both. Browse Dolin’s books in the library catalog or on Overdrive or hoopla

The library’s digital nonfiction collection has grown significantly in the last few years, and even more so in the past 6 months. You can access the collection through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla with your library card.

Currently, almost every book published on paper is also available in digital format, as the library strives to satisfy public demand, and purchase books to appease diverse tastes and interests.

If you have a choice between print and digital formats, please know that digital books circulate much faster, since they cannot be kept overdue, and do not need to be quarantined. You can reserve print books to pick up in our Curbside Service – please read our instructions carefully about how to reserve titles and set up an appointment once all your items come in.

Happy Pride! – Nonfiction and True Stories of the LGBTQ Community

Celebrate and commemorate the LGBTQIA+ Pride Month with the library’s resources and a curated reading list. Here, you will find books on the tumultuous history of the LGBT+ community’s struggle for equal rights, its disappointments and victories; you will learn about the evolving perspectives on homosexuality, and about pivotal events in the LGBT+ movement. 

All books are free and accessible through Overdrive/Libby:

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski, winner of the Stonewall Award in nonfiction, covers the entire LGBT+ history from 1492 (!) to the present. Based on primary cultural and historical sources, the author shows how the American culture affected the LGBT+ experience, and how the LGBT+ experience shaped the cultural and societal history of the country. The starred review calls it “equally intellectually rigorous and entertaining.”

The Stonewall Reader, edited by New York Public Library, came out last year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, the epoch-making event in the fight for equality in the LGBTQ movement that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969. A collection of first accounts, diaries, and periodic literature that came from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers in the library’s archives, the book carefully chronicles the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ rights from five years leading up to through five years following the riots. The book was named one of the best books of 2019 on the subject.

The Stonewall uprising of 1969 was pivotal in the history of the LGBTQ+ community, and marks the start of the Gay Liberation Movement. Before Stonewall is a 1984 documentary about the LGBT community in America prior to 1969, decade by decade, and events that led to the Stonewall uprising.

A companion documentary, made fifteen years later in 1999, After Stonewall captures the lives of the LGBTQ community after the event through the end of the century.

You will find these documentaries in hoopla, free of charge and accessible at any time with your library card.

We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer is another book that came out in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The book is a photographic history of the LGBTQ+ movement and features the turbulent history of queer activism from its start at the end of the 19th century in Europe to the present. The book contains more than 300 images from various photographers and archives.

The Deviant’s War by Eric Cervini is the story of resistance and a secret fight for gay rights that started more than a decade before Stonewall. Franklin Kameny, a brilliant astronomer working for the U.S. Defense Department, was fired on suspicion of being a homosexual, like so many men and women before him. He fought back.

The book demonstrates a huge intellectual role that Kameny played in the gay liberation movement that triggered fundamental social changes in the post-war America.

Very well-researched and brilliantly written, the book received starred reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

How to Survive a Plague by David France is another story of civil activism, this one taking place during the AIDS epidemic. It is a social and scientific history of AIDS, and a story of the AIDS movement and its activists who took their salvation into their own hands. Not only did their work expedite drug development, but it also transformed the entire medical system and cardinally changed the direction of the movement.

Prior to writing the book How to Survive a Plague, journalist David France created a documentary with the same title. The film received numerous awards and became the 2012 Academy Award nominee in documentary feature.