Friday, March 31, 2023

"Blood on the Siberian Snow"

New from Little, Brown: Blood on the Siberian Snow by C.J. Farrington.

About the book, from the publisher:

Winter has come early to the tiny Siberian village of Roslazny, but for Olga Pushkin, aspiring writer and Railway Engineer (Second Class), it only makes leaving the harder. Olga is being forced overseas by her jealous superior, and now faces two years in exile from her beloved rail-side hut, her white-breasted hedgehog Dmitri, and Vassily Marushkin, sergeant-in-charge at the tiny Roslazny police station.

Fate seems to intervene when Olga's train crashes outside Roslazny, shutting the line and killing two on board - local celebrity Danyl Petrovich and his wife, Anoushka. But Vassily Marushkin soon discovers that the Trans-Siberian locomotive was derailed on purpose. As the weather closes in, trapping the villagers - and the suspects - inside, Vassily begins a murder investigation in which Olga and her long-lost friend, Nevena Komarov, soon become closely involved.

But murder and extreme weather isn't all Olga has to deal with. Recalcitrant publishers, haunted police stations, and embarrassing online exposés combine to make this early winter a particularly challenging one - with the threat of a forced departure still looming as soon as the weather lifts. Can Olga find out who killed the Petroviches, secure the release of her book, exorcise the ghost, and save her job, all at the same time?
Visit C.J. Farrington's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fit Citizens"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Fit Citizens: A History of Black Women's Exercise from Post-Reconstruction to Postwar America by Ava Purkiss.

About the book, from the publisher:

At the turn of the twentieth century, as African Americans struggled against white social and political oppression, Black women devised novel approaches to the fight for full citizenship. In opposition to white-led efforts to restrict their freedom of movement, Black women used various exercises—calisthenics, gymnastics, athletics, and walking—to demonstrate their physical and moral fitness for citizenship. Black women's participation in the modern exercise movement grew exponentially in the first half of the twentieth century and became entwined with larger campaigns of racial uplift and Black self-determination. Black newspapers, magazines, advice literature, and public health reports all encouraged this emphasis on exercise as a reflection of civic virtue.

In the first historical study of Black women's exercise, Ava Purkiss reveals that physical activity was not merely a path to self-improvement but also a means to expand notions of Black citizenship. Through this narrative of national belonging, Purkiss explores how exercise enabled Black women to reimagine Black bodies, health, beauty, and recreation in the twentieth century. Fit Citizens places Black women squarely within the history of American physical fitness and sheds light on how African Americans gave new meaning to the concept of exercising citizenship.
Follow Ava Purkiss on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Random House: Chrysalis: A Novel by Anna Metcalfe.

About the book, from the publisher:

It was hard to be in the present, she said, but if her body were heavier and more in control, then her thoughts would clear and her mind would recover its power.

What happens when a woman dares to take up space? An enigmatic young woman drastically transforms her body, working to become bigger, stronger, and stiller in the wake of a trauma. We see her through the eyes of three people, each differently mesmerized by her, as they reckon with the consequences of her bizarre metamorphosis. Each of them leaves us with a puzzle piece of who she was before she became someone else.

Elliot, a recluse who notices her at the gym, witnesses her physical evolution and becomes her first acolyte. Bella, her mother, worries about the intense effect her daughter’s new way of life is beginning to have on others, and she reflects on their relationship, a close cocoon from which her daughter has broken free. Susie, her ex-colleague and best friend, offers her sanctuary and support as she makes the transition to self-created online phenomenon, posting viral meditation videos that encourage her followers to join her in achieving self-sufficiency by isolating themselves from everyone else in their lives.

Uncanny, alluring, and intimate, Chrysalis raises vital questions about selfhood and solitude. This daring novel asks if it is possible for a woman to have agency over her body while remaining part of society, and then offers its own explosive answer.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Shadow of the New Deal"

New from the University of Illinois Press: Shadow of the New Deal: The Victory of Public Broadcasting by Josh Shepperd.

About the book, from the publisher:

Despite uncertain beginnings, public broadcasting emerged as a noncommercial media industry that transformed American culture. Josh Shepperd looks at the people, institutions, and influences behind the media reform movement and clearinghouse the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) in the drive to create what became the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

Founded in 1934, the NAEB began as a disorganized collection of undersupported university broadcasters. Shepperd traces the setbacks, small victories, and trial-and-error experiments that took place as thousands of advocates built a media coalition premised on the belief that technology could ease social inequality through equal access to education and information. The bottom-up, decentralized network they created implemented a different economy of scale and a vision of a mass media divorced from commercial concerns. At the same time, they transformed advice, criticism, and methods adopted from other sectors into an infrastructure that supported public broadcasting in the 1960s and beyond.
Follow Josh Shepperd on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 30, 2023

"Calling Ukraine"

New from S&S/Marysue Rucci Books: Calling Ukraine: A Novel by Johannes Lichtman.

About the book, from the publisher:

National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and author of Such Good Work Johannes Lichtman returns with a novel that is strikingly relevant to our times—about an American who takes a job in Ukraine in 2018, only to find that his struggle to understand the customs and culture is eclipsed by a romantic entanglement with deadly consequences.

Shortly after his thirtieth birthday, John Turner receives a call from an old college friend who makes him an odd job offer: move to Ukraine to teach customer service agents at a startup how to sound American. John’s never been to Ukraine, doesn’t speak Ukrainian, and is supposed to be a journalist, not a consultant. But having just gone through a break-up and the death of his father, it might just be the new start he’s been looking for.

In Ukraine, John understands very little—the language and social customs are impenetrable to him. At work, his employees are fluent in English but have difficulty grasping the concept of “small talk.” And although he told himself not to get romantically involved while abroad, he can’t help but be increasingly drawn to one of his colleagues.

Most distressing, however, is the fact that John can hear, through their shared wall, his neighbor beating his wife. Desperate to help, John decides to offer the neighbor 100,000 hryvnias to stop. It’s a plan born out the best intentions, but one that has disastrous repercussions that no amount of money or altruism can resolve.

Like Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station and Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You, Calling Ukraine reimagines the American-abroad novel. Moving effortlessly between the comic and the tragic, Johannes Lichtman deploys his signature wry humor and startling moral acuity to illuminate the inevitable complexities of doing right by others.
Visit Johannes Lichtman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Oconaluftee: The History of a Smoky Mountain Valley"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Oconaluftee: The History of a Smoky Mountain Valley by Elizabeth Giddens.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Oconaluftee Valley, located on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, is home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This seemingly isolated valley has an epic tale to tell. Always a desirable place to settle, hunt, gather, farm, and live, the valley and its people have played an integral role in some of the greatest dramas of the colonial era, the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War era. The experiences of turn-of-the-twentieth-century industrial logging alongside the national park movement show how land-use trends changed communities and families. Though the valley saw its share of conflict, its residents often lived like neighbors, sharing resources and acting cooperatively for mutual benefit and survival. They demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of threats to their existence.

Elizabeth Giddens offers a deeply researched and elegantly written account of Oconaluftee and its people from Indigenous settlements to the establishment of the national park by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. She builds the tale from archives, census records, property records, personal memoirs, and more, showing how national events affected all Oconaluftee's people—Indigenous, Black, and white.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Some Desperate Glory"

New from Tordotcom: Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh.

About the book, from the publisher:

While we live, the enemy shall fear us.

Since she was born, Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the murder of planet Earth. Raised in the bowels of Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she readies herself to face the Wisdom, the powerful, reality-shaping weapon that gave the majoda their victory over humanity.

They are what’s left. They are what must survive. Kyr is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet. When Command assigns her brother to certain death and relegates her to Nursery to bear sons until she dies trying, she knows she must take humanity's revenge into her own hands.

Alongside her brother’s brilliant but seditious friend and a lonely, captive alien, Kyr escapes from everything she’s known into a universe far more complicated than she was taught and far more wondrous than she could have imagined.
Visit Emily Tesh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Monumental Controversies"

New from Potomac Books: Monumental Controversies: Mount Rushmore, Four Presidents, and the Quest for National Unity by Harriet F. Senie.

About the book, from the publisher:

In recent years the United States has witnessed major controversies surrounding past American presidents, monuments, and sites. Consider Mount Rushmore, which features the heads of the nation’s most revered presidents—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Is Rushmore a proud national achievement or a symbol of the U.S. theft and desecration of the Lakota Sioux’s sacred land? Is it fair to denigrate George Washington for having owned slaves and Thomas Jefferson for having had a relationship with Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman, to the point of dismissing these men’s accomplishments? Should we retroactively hold Abraham Lincoln accountable for having signed off on the largest single-day mass execution in U.S. history, of thirty-eight Dakota men? How do we reckon with Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy? He was criticized for his imperialist policies but praised for his prolabor antitrust and conservation programs. These charged issues and many others have been plaguing our nation and prompting the removal of Confederate statues and flags amid racial unrest, a national pandemic, and political strife.

Noted art historian Harriet F. Senie tackles these pivotal subjects and more in Monumental Controversies. Senie places partisan politics aside as she investigates subjects that have not been adequately covered in classrooms or literature and require substantial reconciliation in order for Americans to come to terms with their history. She shines a spotlight on the complicated facts surrounding these figures, monuments, and sites, enabling us to revisit the flaws of our Founding Fathers and their checkered legacies while still recognizing their enormous importance and influence on the United States of America.

Monumental Controversies presents strategies to create an inclusive narrative that honors the varied stakeholders in a democracy—a vital step toward healing the divisiveness that now appears to be a dominant feature of American discourse. As the public and press reconsider the viability of the American experiment in democracy, Senie offers a thoughtful reflection on the complex lives and legacies of the four presidents memorialized on Mount Rushmore. All four presidents faced some of the most contentious times in our history and yet they championed unity, made possible by acknowledging and accepting opposing opinions as a basic premise of democracy. Historians, curators, government officials, academics, and students at all levels will be riveted by this authoritative work.
Visit Harriet F. Senie's website.

The Page 99 Test: Memorials to Shattered Myths.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

"Harvest House"

New from Candlewick Press: Harvest House by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Deftly leading readers to the literary crossroads of contemporary realism and haunting mystery, Cynthia Leitich Smith revisits the world of her American Indian Youth Literature Award winner Hearts Unbroken. Halloween is near, and Hughie Wolfe is volunteering at a new rural attraction: Harvest House. He’s excited to take part in the fun, spooky show—until he learns that an actor playing the vengeful spirit of an “Indian maiden,” a ghost inspired by local legend, will headline. Folklore aside, unusual things have been happening at night at the crossroads near Harvest House. A creepy man is stalking teenage girls and young women, particularly Indigenous women; dogs are fretful and on edge; and wild animals are behaving strangely. While Hughie weighs how and when to speak up about the bigoted legend, he and his friends begin to investigate the crossroads and whether it might be haunted after all. As Moon rises on All Hallow’s Eve, will they be able to protect themselves and their community? Gripping and evocative, Harvest House showcases a versatile storyteller at her spooky, unsettling best.
Learn more about the book and author at Cynthia Leitich Smith's website.

Writers Read: Cynthia Leitich Smith (March 2009).

The Page 69 Test: Feral Curse.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Transition"

New from Stanford University Press: The Transition: Interpreting Justice from Thurgood Marshall to Clarence Thomas by Daniel Kiel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Every Supreme Court transition presents an opportunity for a shift in the balance of the third branch of American government, but the replacement of Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas in 1991 proved particularly momentous. Not only did it shift the ideological balance on the Court; it was inextricably entangled with the persistent American dilemma of race. In The Transition, this most significant transition is explored through the lives and writings of the first two African American justices on Court, touching on the lasting consequences for understandings of American citizenship as well as the central currents of Black political thought over the past century.

In their lives, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas experienced the challenge of living and learning in a world that had enslaved their relatives and that continued to subjugate members of their racial group. On the Court, their judicial writings―often in concurrences or dissents―richly illustrate the ways in which these two individuals embodied these crucial American (and African American) debates―on the balance between state and federal authority, on the government's responsibility to protect its citizens against discrimination, and on the best strategies for pursuing justice. The gap between Justices Marshall and Thomas on these questions cannot be overstated, and it reveals an extraordinary range of thought that has yet to be fully appreciated.

The 1991 transition from Justice Marshall to Justice Thomas has had consequences that are still unfolding at the Court and in society. Arguing that the importance of this transition has been obscured by the relegation of these Justices to the sidelines of Supreme Court history, Daniel Kiel shows that it is their unique perspective as Black justices – the lives they have lived as African Americans and the rooting of their judicial philosophies in the relationship of government to African Americans – that makes this succession echo across generations.
Follow Daniel Kiel on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Old Flame"

New from Gallery/Scout Press: Old Flame by Molly Prentiss.

About the book, from the publisher:

The author of the “ethereal and brutally realistic” (The New York Times) Tuesday Nights in 1980 returns with a highly anticipated new novel exploring what it means to be a woman in her many forms—daughter, friend, partner, lover, and mother.

Emily writes for women’s catalogs for a living, but she’d rather be writing books. She has a handsome photographer boyfriend, but she actively wonders how and when they will eventually hurt each other. Her best work friend Megan is her lifeline, until Megan is abruptly laid off. When her world is further upended by an unplanned pregnancy, Emily is forced to make tough decisions that will change her life forever.

What will she sacrifice from her old life to make room for a new one? What fires will she be forced to extinguish, and which will keep burning? Old Flame is a story about the essential—and often existential—choices that define a woman’s life at every level, from which dress to wear to when to have a child to how to be in the world.
Visit Molly Prentiss's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Light and Legacies"

Coming soon from the University of South Carolina Press: Light and Legacies: Stories of Black Girlhood and Liberation by Janaka Bowman Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:

An engaging examination of Black Girl Magic and its significance in American literature

In Light and Legacies, author Janaka Bowman Lewis examines Black girlhood in American literature from the mid-twentieth century to the present. The representation of Black girlhood in contemporary literature has long remained underexplored. Through this literary history of "Black Girl Magic," Lewis offers one of the first studies in this rapidly growing field of study. Light and Legacies poignantly showcases the activist dimensions of creative literature through work by women writers such as Toni Morrison and Toni Cade. As vectors of protest, these stories reflect historical events while also creating an enduring space of liberation and expression. The book provides didactic and reflective portrayals of the Black experience―an experience that has long been misunderstood. In a work both enlightening and personal, Lewis brilliantly weaves accounts of her own journey together with the liberating stories that shaped her and so many others.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

"The Lioness of Boston"

New from Godine: The Lioness of Boston by Emily Franklin.

About the book, from the publisher:

A deeply evocative novel of the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner, a daring visionary who created an inimitable legacy in American art and transformed the city of Boston itself.

By the time Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her Italian palazzo-style home as a museum in 1903 to showcase her collection of old masters, antiques, and objects d’art, she was already well-known for scandalizing Boston’s polite society. But when Isabella first arrived in Boston in 1861, she was twenty years old, newly married to a wealthy trader, and unsure of herself. Puzzled by the frosty reception she received from stuffy bluebloods, she strived to fit in. After two devastating tragedies and rejection from upper-society, Isabella discovered her spirit and cast off expectations.

Freed by travel, Isabella explores the world of art, ideas, and letters, meeting such kindred spirits as Henry James and Oscar Wilde. From London and Paris to Egypt and Asia, she develops a keen eye for paintings and objects, and meets feminists ready to transform nineteenth century thinking in the twentieth century. Isabella becomes an eccentric trailblazer, painted by John Singer Sargent in a portrait of daring décolletage, and fond of such stunts as walking a pair of lions in the Boston Public Garden.

The Lioness of Boston is a portrait of what society expected a woman’s life to be, shattered by a courageous soul who rebelled and determined to live on her own terms.
Visit Emily Franklin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Without Children"

New from Seal Press: Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother by Peggy O’Donnell Heffington.

About the book, from the publisher:

A historian of gender explores the complicated relationship between womanhood and motherhood

In an era of falling births, it’s often said that millennials invented the idea of not having kids. But history is full of women without children: some who chose childless lives, others who wanted children but never had them, and still others—the vast majority, then and now—who fell somewhere in between. Modern women considering how and if children fit into their lives are products of their political, ecological, and cultural moment. But history also tells them that they are not alone.  

Drawing on deep research and her own experience as a woman without children, historian Peggy O’Donnell Heffington shows that many of the reasons women are not having children today are ones they share with women in the past: a lack of support, their jobs or finances, environmental concerns, infertility, and the desire to live different kinds of lives. Understanding this history—how normal it has always been to not have children, and how hard society has worked to make it seem abnormal—is key, she writes, to rebuilding kinship between mothers and non-mothers, and to building a better world for us all.
Visit Peggy O’Donnell Heffington's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Games for Dead Girls"

New from Crooked Lane Books: Games for Dead Girls: A Thriller by Jen Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:

When Charlie was eleven, she created a monster…

For Charlie and her niece Katie, it’s supposed to be a quiet holiday in the peaceful, out-of-the-way seaside town of Hithechurch, England. Charlie is researching a book on the folklore of the area, and the gloomy sea and dangerous caves seem to offer up plenty of material, while Katie is just there to run wild and get some fresh air.

But Charlie’s research reveals a deeper, darker secret, one that uncovers her own, carefully hidden past. Because young women are going missing again: a teenage girl snatched from the beach in broad daylight, and before that, other girls through the decades have vanished from the area, their families left with no answers and no bodies to bury.

Charlie’s creation was a thing of felt, straw, fury, and a rusty pair of scissors in the dark. It couldn’t be her monster. Could it? Charlie is set on discovering the truth about the girls’ disappearances, but she’s about to encounter a force of pure, obsessive malevolence that threatens to destroy anything in its path.
Visit Jen Williams's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fractured Fifties"

New from Oxford University Press: Fractured Fifties: The Cinematic Periodization and Evolution of a Decade by Christine Sprengler.

About the book, from the publisher:

The 1950s as a cultural concept has surged with astonishing force over the last half century. Cultural and political investment in the postwar era has been heavily determined by the desires, anxieties, ideologies, and technologies of the contexts in which they surface. In this book author Christine Sprengler explores how contextualizing factors shaped the 1950s in different ways, and how cinematic representations spearheaded, challenged, or intervened in our cultural memories of the era.

Fractured Fifties: The Cinematic Periodization and Evolution of a Decade presents a two-pronged argument— that cinema helped define the 1950s by contributing in considerable and meaningful ways to the process of periodization and subsequently a common conception of the decade, and that cinema itself has fractured our understanding of the 1950s. Fractured Fifties challenges a reductive and fairly cohesive set of tropes with a complex amalgam of representations that also intervene in debates about historiography, historicity, cultural memory, mediation, nostalgia, and periodization. Ultimately, Sprengler posits that cinema has complicated our sense of the 1950s, yielding in the process a series of 1950s types or kinds, (e.g., The Leave it to Beaver Fifties, The Jukebox Fifties, and The Cold War Fifties, The Retromediated Fifties) as well as a wealth of critical insights into myriad pasts, presents, and the evolving relationships between them.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 27, 2023

"Spring, Summer, Autumn, Us"

New from Lake Union: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Us by Fiona Collins.

About the book, from the publisher:

Four decades. Four seasons. Four chance encounters with the same man.

Spring 1986, Oxford.
Rachel has landed on her feet: engaged to handsome author Jonny, soon to be stepmother to his young daughter Teddy, and with a dream to open her own art gallery. It’s everything she wished for during her unsettled childhood. So when she meets candid and carefree American artist Gabe at a party and feels a familiar spark, she knows she needs to resist.

But as her perfect life moves forward, Gabe is never far away, and there’s no denying the lure of the spontaneous, wildly adventurous existence he seems to offer. His is a world of endless possibilities―ones Rachel can’t let herself be tempted by if she’s ever to stay the safe course with Jonny. But how can she focus on the life she thought she wanted when she can’t help imagining the alternative?

One thing’s for certain: Gabe is more than a minor character in Rachel’s life. And as their paths intersect over seasons and decades, each meeting presents Rachel with a choice that could alter everything, and she has to wonder whether the life story she once fought for is the version she’s meant to be living…
Visit Fiona Collins's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"In This Place Called Prison"

New from the University of California Press: In This Place Called Prison: Women’s Religious Life in the Shadow of Punishment by Rachel Ellis.

About the book, from the publisher:

In This Place Called Prison offers a vivid account of religious life within an institution designed to punish. Rachel Ellis conducted a year of ethnographic fieldwork inside a U.S. state women’s prison, talking with hundreds of incarcerated women, staff, and volunteers. Through their stories, Ellis shows how women draw on religion to navigate lived experiences of carceral control. A trenchant study of religion colliding and colluding with the state in an enduring tension between freedom and constraint, this book speaks to the quest for dignity and light against the backdrop of mass incarceration, state surveillance, and American inequality.
Follow Rachel Ellis on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Sunset and Jericho"

Coming April 15 from Harbour Publishing: Sunset and Jericho: A Wakeland Novel (Wakeland, 4) by Sam Wiebe.

About the book, from the publisher:

The fourth thrilling installment of the Wakeland detective series, exploring the depths of Vancouver’s criminal underworld.

The mayor’s brother is missing. A transit cop lies beaten and blinded, her service weapon stolen. A new series of graffiti tags are appearing, linked to an underground group calling themselves The Death of Kings. Class warfare has broken out on the streets of Vancouver, and PI Dave Wakeland finds himself on the front lines―but unsure which side he’s on.

Reeling from a bad breakup, and increasingly alienated from the city he calls home, Wakeland nevertheless agrees to look for the missing gun. The investigation takes him from flophouses to city hall, and from a clinic in the West Vancouver hills to a mega-mansion in the exclusive British Properties neighborhood―along the way, crossing every ethical line the PI has drawn for himself. Even then, Wakeland may not be able to pull it off…
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Invisible Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Cut You Down.

Q&A with Sam Wiebe.

The Page 69 Test: Hell and Gone.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe (March 2022).

My Book, The Movie: Hell and Gone.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Wild Woman of Cincinnati"

New from the LSU Press: The Wild Woman of Cincinnati: Gender and Politics on the Eve of the Civil War by Michael D. Pierson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Popular entertainment in antebellum Cincinnati ran the gamut from high culture to shows barely above the level of the tawdry. Among the options for those seeking entertainment in the summer of 1856 was the display of a “Wild Woman,” purportedly a young woman captured while living a feral life beyond the frontier. The popular exhibit, which featured a silent, underdressed woman chained to a bed, was almost assuredly a hoax. Local activist women, however, used their influence to prompt a judge to investigate the display. The court employed eleven doctors, who forcibly subdued and examined the woman before advising that she be admitted to an insane asylum.

In his riveting analysis of this remarkable episode in antebellum American history, Michael D. Pierson describes how people in different political parties and sections of the country reacted to the exhibit. Specifically, he uses the lens of the Wild Woman display to explore the growing cultural divisions between the North and the South in 1856, especially the differing gender ideologies of the northern Republican Party and the more southern focused Democrats. In addition, Pierson shows how the treatment of the Wild Woman of Cincinnati prompted an increasing demand for women’s political and social empowerment at a time when the country allowed for the display of a captive female without evidence that she had granted consent.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 26, 2023


New from Atria Books: Pomegranate: A Novel by Helen Elaine Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:

The acclaimed author of The Serpent’s Gift returns with this gripping and powerful novel of healing, redemption, and love, following a queer Black woman who works to stay clean, pull her life together, and heal after being released from prison.

Ranita Atwater is “getting short.”

She is almost done with her four-year sentence for opiate possession at Oak Hills Correctional Center. With three years of sobriety, she is determined to stay clean and regain custody of her two children.

My name is Ranita, and I’m an addict, she has said again and again at recovery meetings. But who else is she? Who might she choose to become? As she claims the story housed within her pomegranate-like heart, she is determined to confront the weight of the past and discover what might lie beyond mere survival.

Ranita is regaining her freedom, but she’s leaving behind her lover Maxine, who has inspired her to imagine herself and the world differently. Now she must steer clear of the temptations that have pulled her down, while atoning for her missteps and facing old wounds. With a fierce, smart, and sometimes funny voice, Ranita reveals how rocky and winding the path to wellness is for a Black woman, even as she draws on family, memory, faith, and love in order to choose life.

Perfect for fans of Jesmyn Ward and Yaa Gyasi, Pomegranate is a complex portrayal of queer Black womanhood and marginalization in America: a story of loss, healing, redemption, and strength. In lyrical and precise prose, Helen Elaine Lee paints a humane and unflinching portrait of the devastating effects of incarceration and addiction, and of one woman’s determination to tell her story.
Visit Helen Elaine Lee's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Wounded World"

New from Farrar, Straus and Giroux: The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War by Chad L. Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:

The dramatic story of W. E. B. Du Bois's reckoning with the betrayal of Black soldiers during World War I—and a new understanding of one of the great twentieth-century writers.

When W. E. B. Du Bois, believing in the possibility of full citizenship and democratic change, encouraged African Americans to “close ranks” and support the Allied cause in World War I, he made a decision that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Seeking both intellectual clarity and personal atonement, for more than two decades Du Bois attempted to write the definitive history of Black participation in World War I. His book, however, remained unfinished. In The Wounded World, Chad Williams offers the dramatic account of Du Bois’s failed efforts to complete what would have been one of his most significant works. The surprising story of this unpublished book offers new insight into Du Bois’s struggles to reckon with both the history and the troubling memory of the war, along with the broader meanings of race and democracy for Black people in the twentieth century.

Drawing on a broad range of sources, most notably Du Bois’s unpublished manuscript and research materials, Williams tells a sweeping story of hope, betrayal, disillusionment, and transformation, setting into motion a fresh understanding of the life and mind of arguably the most significant scholar-activist in African American history. In uncovering what happened to Du Bois’s largely forgotten book, Williams offers a captivating reminder of the importance of World War I, why it mattered to Du Bois, and why it continues to matter today.
Visit Chad L. Williams's website.

The Page 99 Test: Torchbearers of Democracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Forgotten War"

Coming April 25 from Berkley: Forgotten War (A Matt Drake Novel) by Don Bentley.

About the book, from the publisher:

A brotherhood born in battle is endangered by a deadly secret in the latest astonishing thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Zero Hour and Hostile Intent.

As a team, Matt Drake and his partner, Frodo, have watched each other's backs through some very dark days. But one thing they've never doubted was their commitment to each other...until now.

Frodo has been accused of a war crime ten years after leaving Afghanistan. Matt is determined to prove his friend innocent, but what will he do when he finds that his closest friend has secrets he won't share?
Visit Don Bentley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Mark Twain, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the Head Readers"

New from Cambridge University Press: Mark Twain, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the Head Readers: Literature, Humor, and Faddish Phrenology by Stanley Finger.

About the book, from the publisher:

Having a phrenological 'head reading' was one of the most significant fads of the nineteenth century – a means for better knowing oneself and a guide for self-improvement. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) had a lifelong yet long overlooked interest in phrenology, the pseudoscience claiming to correlate skull features with specialized brain areas and higher mental traits. Twain's books are laced with phrenological terms and concepts, and he lampooned the head readers in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He was influenced by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, who also used his humor to assail head readers and educate the public. Finger shows that both humorists accepted certain features of phrenology, but not their skull-based ideas. By examining a fascinating topic at the intersection of literature and the history of neuroscience, this engaging study will appeal to readers interested in phrenology, science, medicine, American history, and the lives and works of Twain and Holmes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 25, 2023

"The Endless Vessel"

Coming June 6 from Harper Perennial: The Endless Vessel: A Novel by Charles Soule.

About the book, from the publisher:

Combining the wonder of The Midnight Library , the inventiveness of Ready Player One, and the artistry of Cloud Atlas, this novel by the bestselling author of The Oracle Year and Anyone explores the way we’re all connected—and what can happen when we lose our capacity for joy.

A few years from now, in a world similar to ours, there exists a sort of “depression plague” that people refer to simply as “The Grey.” No one can predict whom it will afflict, or how, but once infected, there’s no coming back.

A young Hong Kong based scientist, Lily Barnes, is trying to maintain her inner light in an increasingly dark world. The human race is dwindling, and people fighting to push forward are increasingly rare. One day, Lily comes across something that seems to be addressing her directly, calling to her, asking her to follow a path to whatever lies at its end. Is this the Endless Vessel to happiness? She leaves her life behind and sets out through time and space to find out.

From its opening heart-stopping scene in the present day at the Louvre in Paris, through the earthly meetings between Lily and her loved ones past and present, to a shocking and satisfying conclusion in a truly enchanted forest, Charles Soule has channeled history, science and drama to create a story for the ages—a story of hope and love and possibility. This is a novel you will not soon forget.
Visit Charles Soule's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"From Whispers to Shouts"

New from Columbia University Press: From Whispers to Shouts: The Ways We Talk About Cancer by Elaine Schattner.

About the book, from the publisher:

It’s hard today to remember how recently cancer was a silent killer, a dreaded disease about which people rarely spoke in public. In hospitals and doctors’ offices, conversations about malignancy were hushed and hope was limited. In this deeply researched book, Elaine Schattner reveals a sea change―from before 1900 to the present day―in how ordinary people talk about cancer.

From Whispers to Shouts examines public perception of cancer through stories in newspapers and magazines, social media, and popular culture. It probes the evolving relationship between journalists and medical specialists and illuminates the role of women and charities that distributed medical information. Schattner traces the origins of patient advocacy and activism from the 1920s onward, highlighting how, while doctors have lost control of messages about cancer, survivors have gained visibility and voice.

The book’s final section lays out provocative questions facing the cancer community today―including distrust of oncologists, concerns over financial burdens, and disparities in cancer treatments and care. Schattner considers how patients and their loved ones struggle to make decisions amid conflicting information and opinions. She explores the ramifications of so much openness, good and bad, and asks: Has awareness backfired? Instead, Schattner contends, we need greater understanding of cancer’s treatability.
Visit Elaine Schattner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"You Should Have Known"

New from Crooked Lane Books: You Should Have Known: A Novel by Rebecca A. Keller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perfect for fans of Helene Tursten and Caroline B. Cooney, a grieving grandmother turns to murder in Rebecca Keller’s taut debut mystery that explores the bonds of family and the grudges we refuse to let go.

When retired nurse Frannie Greene moves into a senior living apartment, she finds a compelling friendship with her new neighbor Katherine, only to discover that Katherine is married to the judge who Frannie believes is implicated in the death of her beloved granddaughter.

Observing the medication cart sparks Frannie’s darkest imagination, and her desire for revenge combines with her medical expertise. In one dreadful, impulsive moment, she tampers with the medicine. However, the next day, someone is dead, and Frannie realizes the gravity of what she’s done.

The police get involved, and suspicions gather around someone Frannie knows to be innocent. Wracked with remorse, Frannie’s anxiety becomes unbearable. As she works to make it right, Frannie discovers that things are more complicated than they seem.

She’s spent years aching for accountability from people in power. Is she the one who now needs to be held culpable? What really happened that night?
Visit Rebecca A. Keller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


New from Yale University Press: Invisibility: The History and Science of How Not to Be Seen by Gregory J. Gbur.

About the book, from the publisher:

A lively exploration of how invisibility has gone from science fiction to fact

Is it possible for something or someone to be made invisible? This question, which has intrigued authors of science fiction for over a century, has become a headline-grabbing topic of scientific research.

In this book, science writer and optical physicist Gregory J. Gbur traces the science of invisibility from its sci-fi origins in the nineteenth-century writings of authors such as H. G. Wells and Fitz James O’Brien to modern stealth technology, invisibility cloaks, and metamaterials. He explores the history of invisibility and its science and technology connections, including the discovery of the electromagnetic spectrum, the development of the atomic model, and quantum theory. He shows how invisibility has moved from fiction to reality, and he questions the hidden paths that lie ahead for researchers.

This is not only the story of invisibility but also the story of humankind’s understanding of the nature of light itself, and of the many fascinating figures whose discoveries advanced this knowledge.
Visit Greg Gbur's Skulls in the Stars blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 24, 2023

"The All-American"

New from W.W. Norton: The All-American: A Novel by Joe Milan Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:

Introducing a character as viscerally believable and unforgettable as any in fiction, The All-American is a triumph—full of energy, dark humor, suspense, and hard-won wisdom.

Seventeen-year-old Bucky Yi knows nothing about his birth country of South Korea or his bio-dad’s disappearance; he can’t even pronounce his Korean name correctly. Running through the woods of rural Washington State with a tire tied to his waist, his sights are set on one all-American goal: to become a college football player.

So when a misadventure with his adoptive family leads the U.S. government to deport him to South Korea, he’s forced to navigate an entirely foreign version of his life. One mishap leads to another, and as an outsider, Bucky has to fall back on not just his raw physical strength, but resources of character and attitude he didn’t know he had. In an expat bar in Seoul, in the bleak barracks of his Korean military, on a remote island where an erratic sergeant fights a shadow-war with North Korean spies, and in the remote town where he seeks out his drunken, indebted biological father, Bucky has to assemble the building blocks of a new language and stubbornly rebuild himself from scratch. That means managing his ego, insecurities, sexual desires, family legacies, and allegiances in order to make it back home—wherever that might be—and determine who he is to himself, who he is to others, and what kind of man he wants to become.
Visit Joe Milan Jr.'s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Power of Language"

New from Dutton: The Power of Language: How the Codes We Use to Think, Speak, and Live Transform Our Minds by Viorica Marian.

About the book, from the publisher:

This revolutionary book goes beyond any recent book on language to dissect how language operates in our minds and how to harness its virtually limitless power.

As Dr. Marian explains, while you may well think you speak only one language, in fact your mind accommodates multiple codes of communication. Some people speak Spanish, some Mandarin. Some speak poetry, some are fluent in math. The human brain is built to use multiple languages, and using more languages opens doors to creativity, brain health, and cognitive control.

Every new language we speak shapes how we extract and interpret information. It alters what we remember, how we perceive ourselves and the world around us, how we feel, the insights we have, the decisions we make, and the actions we take. Language is an invaluable tool for organizing, processing, and structuring information, and thereby unleashing radical advancement.

Learning a new language has broad lifetime consequences, and Dr. Marian reviews research showing that it:

· Enhances executive function—our ability to focus on the things that matter and ignore the things that don’t.
· Results in higher scores on creative-thinking tasks.
· Develops critical reasoning skills.
· Delays Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by four to six years.
· Improves decisions made under emotional duress.
· Changes what we see, pay attention to, and recall.
Visit Viorica Marian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"House of Cotton"

New from Flatiron Books: House of Cotton: A Novel by Monica Brashears.

About the book, from the publisher:

A stunning, contemporary Black southern gothic novel about what it means to be a poor woman in the God- fearing south. Perfect for readers of The Other Black Girl and Luster

Magnolia Brown is nineteen years old, broke, and effectively an orphan. She feels stuck and haunted: by her overdrawn bank account, her predatory landlord, and the ghost of her late grandmother Mama Brown.

One night, while working at her dead-end gas station job, a mysterious, slick stranger named Cotton walks in and offers to turn Magnolia’s luck around with a lucrative “modeling” job at his family’s funeral home. She accepts. But despite things looking up, Magnolia’s problems fatten along with her wallet. When Cotton’s requests become increasingly weird, Magnolia discovers there’s a lot more at stake than just her rent.

Sharp as a belted knife, this sly social commentary cuts straight to the bone. House of Cotton will keep you mesmerized until the very last page.
Visit Monica Brashears's website and follow her on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Monitoring American Federalism"

New from Cambridge University Press: Monitoring American Federalism: The History of State Legislative Resistance by Christian G. Fritz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Monitoring American Federalism examines some of the nation's most significant controversies in which state legislatures have attempted to be active partners in the process of constitutional decision-making. Christian G. Fritz looks at interposition, which is the practice of states opposing federal government decisions that were deemed unconstitutional. Interposition became a much-used constitutional tool to monitor the federal government and organize resistance, beginning with the Constitution's ratification and continuing through the present affecting issues including gun control, immigration and health care. Though the use of interposition was largely abandoned because of its association with nullification and the Civil War, recent interest reminds us that the federal government cannot run roughshod over states, and that states lack any legitimate power to nullify federal laws. Insightful and comprehensive, this appraisal of interposition breaks new ground in American political and constitutional history, and can help us preserve our constitutional system and democracy.
The Page 99 Test: American Sovereigns.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 23, 2023

"Halfway to You"

New from Lake Union Publishing: Halfway to You: A Novel by Jennifer Gold.

About the book, from the publisher:

An ambitious podcaster and her reclusive interviewee embark on a life-altering journey to uncover long-lost truths in this immersive story about love, travel, and family secrets.

Forty years ago, aspiring writer Ann Fawkes left the United States for a Mediterranean adventure that opened her heart to travel and love. After a chance encounter propelled her into the publishing world, she released her first novel, an instant bestseller―and the last book she ever wrote.

Now, Ann lives a reclusive life in the San Juan Islands, hiding from the public and its probing questions. But when podcaster Maggie Whitaker convinces Ann to sit for an interview, Ann agrees on one condition: Maggie must keep her story off the record.

Determined to change Ann’s mind before she loses her job, Maggie agrees. But as she learns about Ann’s life―particularly the love affair that inspired her novel and the decisions she made in its wake―Maggie realizes Ann’s story intersects with her own in shocking, life-changing ways.

A sweeping, heart-wrenching novel that spans decades and continents, Halfway to You explores the distances we create between ourselves and the ones we love most and what it takes to finally bridge them.
Visit Jennifer Gold's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Subcontractors of Guilt"

New from Stanford University Press: Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany by Esra Özyürek.

About the book, from the publisher:

At the turn of the millennium, Middle Eastern and Muslim Germans had rather unexpectedly become central to the country's Holocaust memory culture—not as welcome participants, but as targets for re-education and reform. Since then, Turkish- and Arab-Germans have been considered as the prime obstacles to German national reconciliation with its Nazi past, a status shared to a lesser degree by Germans from the formerly socialist East Germany. It is for this reason that the German government, German NGOs, and Muslim minority groups have begun to design Holocaust education and anti-Semitism prevention programs specifically tailored for Muslim immigrants and refugees, so that they, too, can learn the lessons of the Holocaust and embrace Germany's most important postwar democratic political values. Based on ethnographic research conducted over a decade, Subcontractors of Guilt explores when, how, and why Muslim Germans have moved to the center of Holocaust memory discussions. Esra Özyürek argues that German society "subcontracts" guilt of the Holocaust to new minority immigrant arrivals, with the false promise of this process leading to inclusion into the German social contract and equality with other members of postwar German society. By focusing on the recently formed but already sizable sector of Muslim-only anti-Semitism and Holocaust education programs, this book explores the paradoxes of postwar German national identity.
The Page 99 Test: Being German, Becoming Muslim.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Society of Shame"

New from Anchor: The Society of Shame by Jane Roper.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this timely and witty combination of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and Where’d You Go, Bernadette? a viral photo of a politician’s wife’s “feminine hygiene malfunction” catapults her to unwanted fame in a story that’s both a satire of social media stardom and internet activism, and a tender mother-daughter tale.

Kathleen Held’s life is turned upside down when she arrives home to find her house on fire and her husband on the front lawn in his underwear. But the scandal that emerges is not that Bill, who’s running for Senate, is having a painfully cliched affair with one of his young staffers: it’s that the eyewitness photographing the scene accidentally captures a period stain on the back of Kathleen’s pants.

Overnight, Kathleen finds herself the unwitting figurehead for a social media-centered women’s right movement, #YesWeBleed. Humiliated, Kathleen desperately seeks a way to hide from the spotlight. But when she stumbles upon the Society of Shame—led by the infamous author Danica Bellevue—Kathleen finds herself part of a group who are all working to change their lives after their own scandals. Using the teachings of the society, Kathleen channels her newfound fame as a means to reap the benefits of her humiliation and reclaim herself. But as she ascends to celebrity status, Kathleen’s growing obsession with maintaining her popularity online threatens her most important relationship IRL: that with her budding activist daughter, Aggie.

Hilarious and heartfelt, The Society of Shame is a pitch-perfect romp through politics and the perils of being “extremely online”—without losing your sanity or your true self.
Visit Jane Roper's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Living Accountably"

New from Oxford University Press: Living Accountably: Accountability as a Virtue by C. Stephen Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:

In contemporary culture, accountability is usually understood in terms of holding people who have done something wrong accountable for their actions. As such, it is virtually synonymous with punishing someone. Living Accountably argues that accountability should also be understood as a significant, forward-looking virtue, an excellence possessed by those who willingly embrace being accountable to those who have proper standing, when that standing is exercised appropriately. Those who have this virtue are people who strive to live accountably. The book gives a fine-grained description of the virtue and how it is exercised, including an account of the motivational profile of the one who has the virtue. It examines the relation of accountability to other virtues, such as honesty and humility, as well as opposing vices, such as self-deception, arrogance, and servility. Though the virtue of accountability is compatible with individual autonomy, recognizing the importance of the virtue does justice to the social character of human persons. C. Stephen Evans also explores the history of this virtue in other cultures and historical eras, providing evidence that the virtue is widely recognized, even if it is somewhat eclipsed in modern western societies.

Accountability is also a virtue that connects ethical life with religious life for many people, since it is common for people to have a sense that they are accountable in a global way for how they live their lives. Living Accountably explores the question as to whether global accountability can be understood in a purely secular way, as accountability to other humans, or whether it must be understood as accountability to God, or some other transcendent reality.
Visit C. Stephen Evans's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

"Camp Zero"

New from Atria/Simon & Schuster: Camp Zero: A Novel by Michelle Min Sterling.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a near-future northern settlement, a handful of climate change survivors find their fates intertwined in this mesmerizing and transportive novel in the vein of Station Eleven and The Power.

In the far north of Canada sits Camp Zero, an American building project hiding many secrets.

Desperate to help her climate-displaced Korean immigrant mother, Rose agrees to travel to Camp Zero and spy on its architect in exchange for housing. She arrives at the same time as another newcomer, a college professor named Grant who is determined to flee his wealthy family’s dark legacy. Gradually, they realize that there is more to the architect than previously thought, and a disturbing mystery lurks beneath the surface of the camp. At the same time, rumors abound of an elite group of women soldiers living and working at a nearby Cold War-era climate research station. What are they doing there? And who is leading them?

An electrifying page-turner where nothing is as it seems, Camp Zero cleverly explores how the intersection of gender, class, and migration will impact who and what will survive in a warming world.
Visit Michelle Min Sterling's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Ending Epidemics"

New from the MIT Press: Ending Epidemics: A History of Escape from Contagion by Richard Conniff.

About the book, from the publisher:

How scientists saved humanity from the deadliest infectious diseases—and what we can do to prepare ourselves for future epidemics.

After the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be hard to imagine a time not so long ago when deadly diseases were a routine part of life. It is harder still to fathom that the best medical thinking at that time blamed these diseases on noxious miasmas, bodily humors, and divine dyspepsia. This all began to change on a day in April 1676, when a little-known Dutch merchant described bacteria for the first time. Beginning on that day in Delft and ending on the day in 1978 when the smallpox virus claimed its last known victim, Ending Epidemics explains how we came to understand and prevent many of our worst infectious diseases—and double average life expectancy.

Ending Epidemics tells the story behind “the mortality revolution,” the dramatic transformation not just in our longevity, but in the character of childhood, family life, and human society. Richard Conniff recounts the moments of inspiration and innovation, decades of dogged persistence, and, of course, periods of terrible suffering that stir individuals, institutions, and governments to act in the name of public health. Stars of medical science feature in this drama, but lesser-known figures also play a critical role. And while the history of germ theory is central to this story, Ending Epidemics also describes the importance of everything from sanitation improvements and the discovery of antibiotics to the development of the microscope and the syringe—technologies we now take for granted.
Visit Richard Conniff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Lost Wife"

New from Knopf: The Lost Wife: A Novel by Susanna Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:

From one of our most compelling and sensual writers comes a searing, immersive novel about a seminal and shameful moment in America’s conquest of the West. Drawing partly from a true story, it brings to life a devastating Native American revolt and the woman caught in the middle of the conflict.

In the summer of 1855, Sarah Brinton abandons her husband and child to make the long and difficult journey from Rhode Island to Minnesota Territory, where she plans to reunite with a childhood friend. When she arrives at a small frontier post on the edge of the prairie without family or friends and with no prospect of work or money, she quickly remarries and has two children. Anticipating unease and hardship at the Indian Agency, where her husband Dr. John Brinton is the new resident physician, Sarah instead finds acceptance and kinship among the Sioux women at a nearby reservation.

The Sioux tribes, however, are wary of the white settlers and resent the rampant theft of their land. Promised payments by the federal government are never made, and starvation and disease soon begin to decimate their community. Tragically and inevitably, this leads to the Sioux Uprising of 1862. During the conflict, Sarah and her children are abducted by the Sioux, who protect her, but because she sympathizes with her captors, Sarah becomes an outcast to the white settlers. In the end, she is lost to both worlds.

Intimate and raw, The Lost Wife is a brilliantly subversive tale of the conquest of the American West.
Learn more about the book and author at Susanna Moore's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Life of Objects.

Writers Read: Susanna Moore (October 2012).

The Page 99 Test: Miss Aluminum.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Christendom: The Triumph of a Religion, AD 300-1300"

New from Knopf: Christendom: The Triumph of a Religion, AD 300-1300 by Peter Heather.

About the book, from the publisher:

A major reinterpretation of the religious superstate that came to define both Europe and Christianity itself, by one of our foremost medieval historians.

In the fourth century AD, a new faith grew out of Palestine, overwhelming the paganism of Rome and resoundingly defeating a host of other rival belief systems. Almost a thousand years later, all of Europe was controlled by Christian rulers, and the religion, ingrained within culture and society, exercised a monolithic hold over its population. But how did a small sect of isolated and intensely committed congregations become a mass movement centrally directed from Rome? As Peter Heather shows in this illuminating new history, there was nothing inevitable about Christendom's rise and eventual dominance.

From Constantine the Great's pivotal conversion to Christianity to the crisis that followed the collapse of the Roman empire—which left the religion teetering on the edge of extinction—to the astonishing revolution of the eleventh century and beyond, out of which the Papacy emerged as the head of a vast international corporation, Heather traces Christendom's chameleonlike capacity for self-reinvention, as it not only defined a fledgling religion but transformed it into an institution that wielded effective authority across virtually all of the disparate peoples of medieval Europe.

Authoritative, vivid, and filled with new insights, this is an unparalleled history of early Christianity.
--Marshal Zeringue