Thursday, August 31, 2023

"A Storm of Infinite Beauty"

New from Lake Union: A Storm of Infinite Beauty: A Novel: A Novel by Julianne MacLean.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the bestselling author of Beyond the Moonlit Sea comes an atmospheric tale of how one woman’s search for the truth uncovers long-hidden secrets and rocks the very foundation of her world.

Scarlett Fontaine is a true Hollywood legend―a singer, actress, and beloved fashion icon. But Scarlett dies tragically at just thirty-six years old, leaving behind no children. Or so the story goes…

Gwen Hollingsworth is the curator at a museum dedicated to Scarlett’s life. She’s also sole heir to Scarlett’s fortune as a descendant of the star. But all is not well in Gwen’s world. She’s dealing with a messy marital separation and is struggling to move forward. So when Peter Miller, a biographer and photojournalist, comes to the museum with shocking claims about Scarlett―a life of exile in Alaska, a baby born in secret―Gwen’s whole world is turned upside down. Again.

Determined to uncover the truth, Gwen and Peter set out for Alaska together but soon find themselves on a path toward something far deeper and more meaningful than either of them ever expected.

A Storm of Infinite Beauty takes readers on a breathtaking journey from a lush vineyard in Nova Scotia to a rustic lodge in Alaska where old family secrets are revealed and the quest for true happiness begins.
Visit Julianne MacLean's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Fire Sparkling.

--Marshal Zeringue

"An Ordinary Future"

New from the University of California Press: An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead, the Problem of Disability, and a Child Born Different by Thomas W Pearson.

About the book, from the publisher:

This vivid portrait of contemporary parenting blends memoir and cultural analysis to explore evolving ideas of disability and human difference.

An Ordinary Future is a deeply moving work that weaves an account of Margaret Mead's path to disability rights activism with one anthropologist's experience as the parent of a child with Down syndrome. With this book, Thomas W. Pearson confronts the dominant ideas, disturbing contradictions, and dramatic transformations that have shaped our perspectives on disability over the last century.

Pearson examines his family's story through the lens of Mead's evolving relationship to disability—a topic once so stigmatized that she advised Erik Erikson to institutionalize his son, born with Down syndrome in 1944. Over the course of her career, Mead would become an advocate for disability rights and call on anthropology to embrace a wider understanding of humanity that values diverse bodies and minds. Powerful and personal, An Ordinary Future reveals why this call is still relevant in the ongoing fight for disability justice and inclusion, while shedding light on the history of Down syndrome and how we raise children born different.
Visit Thomas W Pearson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

"Dead West"

New from Oceanview Publishing: Dead West: A Novel by Linda L. Richards.

About the book, from the publisher:

Rule #1 of being a hired killer: never get to know your target ... and definitely don’t fall in love with them

Taking lives has taken its toll. Her moral justifications have faltered. Do any of the people she has killed—some of them heinous, but all of them human—deserve to die?

Her next target is Cameron Walker, a rancher in Arizona. When she arrives at his remote desert estate to carry out her orders, she discovers that he is a kind and beautiful man. After a lengthy tour of the ranch, not only has she not killed him—she’s wondering who might want him dead.

She procrastinates, instead growing closer to Cameron. She learns that he’s passionate about wild horses and has been fighting a losing political battle to save mustangs that live on protected land near his ranch—he’s even received death threats from his opponents.

Suddenly, she’s faced with protecting the man she was sent to kill, encountering kidnappers, murderers, horse thieves, and even human traffickers along the way. Can she figure out who has hired her before they take matters into their own hands?

Perfect for fans of Dean Koontz and Tana French
Visit Linda L. Richards's website.

My Book, The Movie: Endings.

The Page 69 Test: Endings.

Q&A with Linda L. Richards.

Writers Read: Linda L. Richards (May 2022).

The Page 69 Test: Exit Strategy.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Empire of Brutality"

New from LSU Press: Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World by Christopher Michael Blakley.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the early modern British Atlantic world, the comparison of enslaved people to animals, particularly dogs, cattle, or horses, was a common device used by enslavers to dehumanize and otherwise reduce the existence of the enslaved. Letters, memoirs, and philosophical treatises of the enslaved and formerly enslaved bear testament to the methods used to dehumanize them. In Empire of Brutality, Christopher Michael Blakley explores how material relationships between enslaved people and animals bolstered the intellectual dehumanization of the enslaved. By reconsidering dehumanization in the light of human–animal relations, Blakley offers new insights into the horrific institution later challenged by Black intellectuals in multiple ways.

Using the correspondence of the Royal African Company, specimen catalogs and scientific papers of the Royal Society, plantation inventories and manuals, and diaries kept by slaveholders, Blakley describes human–animal networks spanning from Britain’s slave castles and outposts throughout western Africa to plantations in the Caribbean and American Southeast. They combine approaches from environmental history, history of science, and philosophy to examine slavery from the ground up and from the perspectives of the enslaved. Blakley’s work reveals how African captives who became commodified through exchanges of cowry sea snails between slavers in the Bight of Benin later went on to collect zoological specimens in Barbados and Virginia for institutions such as the Royal Society. On plantations, where enslaved people labored alongside cattle, donkeys, horses, and other animals to make the agricultural fortunes of slaveholders, Blakley shows how the enslaved resisted these human–animal pairings by stealing animals for their own purposes—such as fugitives who escaped their slaveholder’s grasp by riding stolen horses. Because of experiences like these, writers and thinkers of African descent who survived slavery later attacked the institution in public as fundamentally dehumanizing, one that corrupted the humanity of both slaveholders and the enslaved.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Lie by the Pool"

New from Lake Union: Lie by the Pool: A Novel by Susan Walter.

About the book, from the publisher:

A desperate woman. An irresistible invitation. An escalating nightmare of secrets, lies, and murder.

Bree’s new home is luxurious and private, with a fancy Beverly Hills address. What a shame it’s not hers. Widowed, penniless, living in her car, and out of options, she’s climbed the fence and crashed in the pool house. All she wants is a good night’s sleep. But when Sophie, the absentee owner, finds her, she gets a whole lot more.

Sophie invites Bree back for a party. When it winds down, Bree can’t resist sneaking upstairs to sleep in a real bed. But the next morning, she wakes to find Sophie’s dead body floating in the pool. As the resident vagabond, she’s both the only witness and the prime murder suspect.

Bree knows she shouldn’t run, but her husband’s death was mysterious, too. If she’s going to clear her name, she’s going to have to work fast. Because the killer is still out there, and she’s next.
Visit Susan Walter's website.

Q&A with Susan Walter.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Russian Liberalism"

New from Northern Illinois University Press: Russian Liberalism by Paul Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:

Russian Liberalism charts the development of liberal ideas and political organizations in Russia as well as the implementation of liberal reforms by the Russian and Soviet governments at various points in time. Paul Robinson's comprehensive survey covers the entire period from the late eighteenth century to the present day.

Robinson demonstrates that liberalism has always lacked strong roots in the Russian population, being largely espoused by a narrow group of intellectuals whose culture it has reflected, and has tended toward a form of historical determinism that sees Russia as destined to become like the West.

Many see the current political struggle between Russia and the West as being in part a conflict between the liberal West and an illiberal Russia. By explaining the historical causes of liberalism's failure in that country, Russian Liberalism offers an understanding of a significant aspect of contemporary international affairs. After Putin's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, understanding Russian political thought is a matter of considerable importance.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

"Ghost Tamer"

Coming September 19 from CamCat Books: Ghost Tamer by Meredith R. Lyons.

About the book, from the publisher:

Death is one thing, it's what you do afterward that matters.

Aspiring comedian Raely is the sole survivor of a disastrous train wreck. While faced with the intense grief of losing her best friend, she realizes that someone is following her—and has been following her all her life. Trouble is, no one else can see him. For a ghostly tag-along, Casper’s not so bad. He might even be the partner Raely needs to fight the evil spirit hell-bent on destroying her.

Raely and her friend must learn why this demonic spirit is haunting Raely and how she can stop him before he destroys her life—and her soul. Which, much to her chagrin, means she needs the help of a psychic (although she’s sure they are all charlatans) and must rid herself of the pesky ghost hunter who’s interested in exploiting her new abilities.
Visit Meredith R. Lyons's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Rights Refused"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Rights Refused: Grassroots Activism and State Violence in Myanmar by Elliott Prasse-Freeman.

About the book, from the publisher:

For decades, the outside world mostly knew Myanmar as the site of a valiant human rights struggle against an oppressive military regime, predominantly through the figure of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. And yet, a closer look at Burmese grassroots sentiments reveals a significant schism between elite human rights cosmopolitans and subaltern Burmese subjects maneuvering under brutal and negligent governance. While elites have endorsed human rights logics, subalterns are ambivalent, often going so far as to refuse rights themselves, seeing in them no more than empty promises. Such alternative perspectives became apparent during Burma's much-lauded decade-long "transition" from military rule that began in 2011, a period of massive change that saw an explosion of political and social activism.

How then do people conduct politics when they lack the legally and symbolically stabilizing force of "rights" to guarantee their incursions against injustice? In this book, Elliott Prasse-Freeman documents grassroots political activists who advocate for workers and peasants across Burma, covering not only the so-called "democratic transition" from 2011-2021, but also the February 2021 military coup that ended that experiment and the ongoing mass uprising against it. Taking the reader from protest camps, to flop houses, to prisons, and presenting practices as varied as courtroom immolation, occult cursing ceremonies, and land reoccupations, Rights Refused shows how Burmese subaltern politics compel us to reconsider how rights frameworks operate everywhere.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Plinko Bounce"

New from Rare Bird Books: The Plinko Bounce by Martin Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:

For seventeen years, small-town public defender Andy Hughes has been underpaid to look after the poor, the addicted, and the unfortunate souls who constantly cycle through the courts, charged with petty crimes. Then, in the summer of 2020, he’s assigned to a grotesque murder case that brings national media focus to rural Patrick County, Virginia—Alicia Benson, the wife of a wealthy businessman, is murdered in her home. The accused killer, Damian Bullins, is a cunning felon with a long history of violence, and he confesses to the police. He even admits his guilt to Andy. But a simple typographical error and a shocking discovery begin to complicate the state’s case, making it possible Bullins might escape punishment. Duty-bound to give his client a thorough defense, Andy—despite his misgivings—agrees to fight for a not-guilty verdict, a decision that will ultimately force him to make profound, life-and-death choices, both inside and outside the courtroom.

With its unforgettable characters, spot-on blueprint of the justice system, intricate plotting, and provocative, no-holds-barred ending, The Plinko Bounce demonstrates once again why Martin Clark has been called “the thinking man’s John Grisham” by The New York Times and praised as “hands down, our finest legal-thriller writer” by Entertainment Weekly.
Visit Martin Clark's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Legal Limit.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Campaigning While Black"

New from Columbia University Press: Campaigning While Black: Black Candidates, White Majorities, and the Quest for Political Office by Matthew Tokeshi.

About the book, from the publisher:

Even today, Black politicians rarely hold the most powerful elected offices one step below the presidency: governor and U.S. senator. While about 11 percent of the electorate is Black, only 3 percent of senators and 2 percent of governors are Black. Only ten Black Americans have been elected to these offices since Reconstruction, and forty-two states have never elected a Black governor or U.S. senator. Why is it so rare for Black candidates to win elections for these offices?

Matthew Tokeshi examines the campaigns of every Black challenger for those offices from 2000 through 2020 and points to the significant effects of racial appeals to white voters. He demonstrates that Black candidates consistently face more attacks on stereotypically anti-Black themes such as crime, sexual misbehavior, and economic redistribution than comparable white candidates. Such attacks diminish their support among the large number of white voters with ambivalent or negative attitudes toward Blacks. However, despite this formidable hurdle, Black candidates can in some circumstances mitigate the effects of negative racial messages.

Presenting timely new evidence on the racial dynamics that shape electoral politics in the United States, Campaigning While Black exposes the unique obstacles facing Black candidates and highlights ways that these barriers can be overcome.
Visit Matthew Tokeshi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 28, 2023

"Call the Dark"

Coming soon from Thomas & Mercer: Call the Dark: A Thriller by J. Todd Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:

From author J. Todd Scott comes a haunting thriller about a young plane crash survivor and a mysterious hiker who venture into the wilderness to escape a dark and vengeful force.

A small white plane hurtles from the sky, vanishing into the wilderness. Hiker Maggie Roby watches its final descent, certain that no one could have survived.

But to her shock, a fifteen-year-old girl emerges from the wreckage, wounded but miraculously, impossibly alive. Maggie approaches with trepidation; she has secrets of her own, a past she can’t escape. Saving the girl means risking her future, but she can’t just abandon her, can she?

With the young survivor, Maggie embarks on a dangerous trek through the remote Appalachian backcountry, joining up with two veterans from the local sheriff’s department who know the land better than anyone.

But even as Maggie charts their course through the mountains, she can sense someone―or something―else watching and waiting.

Their journey is about more than enduring the elements. It’s about escaping a sinister presence that makes a vast wilderness feel like it’s closing in.
Visit J. Todd Scott's website.

The Page 69 Test: High White Sun.

My Book, The Movie: High White Sun.

My Book, The Movie: This Side of Night.

The Page 69 Test: This Side of Night.

Q&A with J. Todd Scott.

The Page 69 Test: Lost River.

The Page 69 Test: The Flock.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Walter Lippmann"

New from Oxford University Press: Walter Lippmann: American Skeptic, American Pastor by Mark Thomas Edwards.

About the book, from the publisher:

Walter Lippmann was arguably the most recognized and respected political journalist of the twentieth century. His "Today and Tomorrow" columns attracted a global readership of well over ten million. Lippmann was the author of numerous books, including the best-selling A Preface to Morals (1929) and U.S. Foreign Policy (1943). His Public Opinion (1922) remains a classic text within American political philosophy and media studies. Lippmann coined or popularized several keywords of the twentieth century, including "stereotype," the "Cold War," and the "Great Society." Sought out by U.S. Presidents and by America's allies and rivals around the world, Lippmann remained one of liberalism's most faithful proponents and harshest critics.

Yet few people then or since encountered the "real" Walter Lippmann. That was because he kept crucial parts of himself hiding in plain sight. His extensive commentary on politics and diplomacy was bounded by his sense that America had to adjust to the loss of a common faith and morality in a "post-Christian" era. Over the course of his life, Lippmann traded in his fame as a happy secularist for the stardom of a grumpy Western Christian intellectual. Yet he never committed himself to any religious system, especially his own Jewish heritage.

Walter Lippmann: American Skeptic, American Pastor considers the role of religions in Lippmann's life and thought, prioritizing his affirmation and rejection of Christian nationalisms of the left and right. It also yields fresh insights into the philosophical origins of modern American liberalism, including liberalism's blind spots in the areas of sex, race, and class. But most importantly, this biography highlights the constructive power of doubt. For Lippmann, the good life in the good society was lived in irreconcilable tension: the struggle to be free from yet loyal to a way of life; to recognize the dangers yet also necessity of a civil religion; and to strive for a just and enduring world order that can never be. In the end, Lippmann manufactured himself as the prophet of limitation for an extravagant American Century.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Beneath the Surface"

New from Thomas & Mercer: Beneath the Surface: A Novel (The Kingsleys) by Kaira Rouda.

About the book, from the publisher:

You are cordially invited to an overnight voyage on the Splendid Seas.

An invitation to Catalina Island from billionaire CEO Richard Kingsley. For his sons, Ted and John, and their wives, it’s an opportunity to curry favor, gain control of a real estate empire, and secure their family’s futures. For the controlling patriarch, succession is a contest. He and his newest wife won’t make it an easy win.

Then Richard’s estranged live-wire daughter, Sibley, crashes the party. She’s the least of the night’s surprises. As the stakes for the inheritance of the Kingsley legacy are raised, the beautiful waters of the Pacific look more like a menacing illusion.

Let the games begin for a family who has everything money can buy, and has used lies, deception, and more to keep it. This weekend one of them will be crowned heir. One is in line to lose everything. That’s the plan. But in the coming storm, so much can go dangerously wrong.
Visit Kaira Rouda's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"In the Shadow of the Seawall"

New from the University of California Press: In the Shadow of the Seawall: Coastal Injustice and the Dilemma of Placekeeping by Summer Gray.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the Shadow of the Seawall journeys to the low-lying lands of Guyana and the Maldives to grapple with the existential dilemma of seawalls alongside struggles to resist displacement. With the gathering momentum of ocean instability wrought by centuries of injustice, seawalls have become objects of conflict and negotiation, around which human struggles for power and resistance collide. Through stories of colonial ruination and green seawalls, the concept of placekeeping emerges—a justice-oriented framework for addressing adaptation and the global dangers of coastal disruption at the front lines of climate change. Drawing on ethnographic observation and interviews, Gray shows how seawalls are entrenched in relationships of power and entangled in processes of making and keeping place.
Visit Summer Gray's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 27, 2023


New from The Overlook Press: Idlewild: A Novel by James Frankie Thomas.

About the book, from the publisher:

James Frankie Thomas’s Idlewild is a darkly funny story of two adults looking back on their intense teenage friendship, in a queer, trans, and early-Internet twist on the Manhattan prep school novel.

Idlewild is a tiny, artsy Quaker high school in lower Manhattan. Students call their teachers by their first names, there are no grades, and every day begins with 20 minutes of contemplative silence in the Meetinghouse. It is during one of those meetings that an airplane hits the Twin Towers.

For two Idlewild outcasts, 9/11 serves as the first day of an intense, 18-month friendship. Fay is prickly, aloof, and obsessed with gay men; Nell is shy, sensitive, and obsessed with Fay. The two of them bond fiercely and spend all their waking hours giddily parsing their environment for homoerotic subtext. Then, during rehearsals for the fall play, they notice two sexually ambiguous boys who are potential candidates for their exclusive Invert Society. The pairs become mirrors of one another and drive each other to make choices that they’ll regret for the rest of their lives.

Looking back on these events as adults, the estranged Fay and Nell trace that fateful school year, recalling backstage theater department intrigue, antiwar demonstrations, smutty fanfic written over AIM, a shared dial-up connection—and the spectacular cascade of mistakes, miscommunications, and betrayals that would ultimately tear the two of them apart.
Visit James Frankie Thomas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Rise and Fall of the EAST"

New from Yale University Press: The Rise and Fall of the EAST: How Exams, Autocracy, Stability, and Technology Brought China Success, and Why They Might Lead to Its Decline by Yasheng Huang.

About the book, from the publisher:

The long history of China’s relationship between stability, diversity, and prosperity, and how its current leadership threatens this delicate balance

Chinese society has been shaped by the interplay of the EAST—exams, autocracy, stability, and technology—from ancient times through the present. Beginning with the Sui dynasty’s introduction of the civil service exam, known as Keju, in 587 CE—and continuing through the personnel management system used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—Chinese autocracies have developed exceptional tools for homogenizing ideas, norms, and practices. But this uniformity came with a huge downside: stifled creativity.

Yasheng Huang shows how China transitioned from dynamism to extreme stagnation after the Keju was instituted. China’s most prosperous periods, such as during the Tang dynasty (618–907) and under the reformist CCP, occurred when its emphasis on scale (the size of bureaucracy) was balanced with scope (diversity of ideas).

Considering China’s remarkable success over the past half-century, Huang sees signs of danger in the political and economic reversals under Xi Jinping. The CCP has again vaulted conformity above new ideas, reverting to the Keju model that eventually led to technological decline. It is a lesson from China’s own history, Huang argues, that Chinese leaders would be wise to take seriously.
Visit Yasheng Huang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Death I Gave Him"

New from Solaris: The Death I Gave Him by Em X. Liu.

About the book, from the publisher:

A lyrical, queer sci-fi retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet as a locked-room thriller

A Twenty-First Century Hamlet.
Hayden Lichfield’s life is ripped apart when he finds his father murdered in their lab, and the camera logs erased. The killer can only have been after one thing: the Sisyphus Formula the two of them developed together, which might one day reverse death itself. Hoping to lure the killer into the open, Hayden steals the research. In the process, he uncovers a recording his father made in the days before his death, and a dying wish: Avenge me...

With the lab on lockdown, Hayden is trapped with four other people—his uncle Charles, lab technician Gabriel Rasmussen, research intern Felicia Xia and their head of security, Felicia’s father Paul—one of whom must be the killer. His only sure ally is the lab’s resident artificial intelligence, Horatio, who has been his dear friend and companion since its creation. With his world collapsing, Hayden must navigate the building’s secrets, uncover his father’s lies, and push the boundaries of sanity in the pursuit of revenge.
Visit Em X. Liu's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Defending Animals"

Coming soon from MIT Press: Defending Animals: Finding Hope on the Front Lines of Animal Protection by Kendra Coulter.

About the book, from the publisher:

An in-depth look at the urgent struggle to protect animals from harm, cruelty, injustice, extinction, and their greatest threat—us.

Beloved dogs and cats. Magnificent horses and mountain gorillas. Curious chickens. What do we actually do to protect animals from harm—and is it enough? This engaging book provides a unique and eye-opening exploration of the world of animal protection as people defend diverse animals from injustice and cruelty. From the streets of major US cities to remote farms and tropical forests, Defending Animals is a gritty and moving portrait of the real work of animal protection that takes place in communities, courtrooms, and boardrooms.

Globally recognized expert Kendra Coulter takes readers across the different landscapes of animal protection to meet people and animals of all kinds, from cruelty investigators to forensic veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators and conservation leaders to animal lawyers and entrepreneurs, each working in their own ways to defend animals. Bringing unparalleled research and a distinct and nuanced analytical viewpoint, Defending Animals shows that animal protection is not only physical, intellectual, and emotional work but also a labor so rooted in empathy and care that it just might bridge the vast divide between polarized people and help create a more humane future for us all.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 26, 2023

"The Court of Shadows"

Coming soon from Amazon Crossing: The Court of Shadows (Vampyria Saga) by Victor Dixen, translated by Françoise Bui.

About the book, from the publisher:

A fiery heroine seeks vengeance against a royal court of deadly vampires in this epic alternate history set in lavish Versailles.

Louis XIV transformed from the Sun King into the King of Shadows when he embraced immortality and became the world’s first vampire. For the last three centuries, he has been ruling the kingdom from the decadent Court of Shadows in Versailles, demanding the blood of his subjects to sate his nobles’ thirst and maintain their loyalty.

In the heart of rural France, commoner Jeanne Froidelac witnesses the king’s soldiers murder her family and learns of her parents’ role in a brewing rebellion involving the forbidden secrets of alchemy. To seek her revenge, Jeanne disguises herself as an aristocrat and enrolls in a prestigious school for aspiring courtiers. She soon finds herself at the doors of the palace of Versailles.

But Jeanne, of course, is no aristocrat. She dreams not of court but of blood.

The blood of a king.
Visit Victor Dixen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Reform Nation"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Reform Nation: The First Step Act and the Movement to End Mass Incarceration by Colleen P. Eren.

About the book, from the publisher:

How one law tells the story of America's modern criminal justice movement

In late 2018, the First Step Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump just hours before a government shutdown. It was one of few major pieces of federal criminal justice reform since the 1970s to move toward reversing the incarceration frenzy that had characterized United States policy. While it did not amount to revolutionary reform, in Reform Nation, Colleen P. Eren investigates it as a symbol for the larger movement's trajectory. Its unlikely passage during a period of political polarization was testament to the power of a new constellation of advocates, stakeholders, and strange bedfellow alliances.

These intriguing and complex dynamics are indicative of a longer, twenty-year shift in which the movement became nationalized and mainstreamed. Using in-depth interviews with major players in the national movement, formerly incarcerated activists, celebrities, and donors, this is the first book to turn the mirror back on the criminal justice reform movement itself—the frames used, the voices heard, the capital activated among elite participants, and the bitter controversies. This snapshot in time raises much larger questions about how our democratic processes inform criminal justice policy, and where we are going in the decades to come.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 25, 2023

"Trouble the Living"

New from Lake Union: Trouble the Living: A Novel by Francesca McDonnell Capossela.

About the book, from the publisher:

From Northern Ireland to Southern California and back―a mother and daughter confront the violence of the past in an enthralling novel about the possibility of love and redemption during the most transforming and unsettled times.

It’s the final years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and Bríd and her sister, Ina, try to maintain a stable life in a divided country. Pushed by her mother’s fanaticism and a family tragedy, Bríd joins the IRA and makes a devastating choice. Frightened and guilt ridden, she flees, leaving behind Ireland and her family for America.

Years later, her guilt and tragic history still buried, Bríd is an overprotective mother raising her sensitive daughter, Bernie, in Southern California. Growing up amid a different kind of social unrest, Bernie’s need for independence and her exploration of her sexuality drive a wedge into their already-fragile relationship. When mother and daughter are forced to return to Northern Ireland, they both must confront the past, the present, and the women they’ve become.

As they navigate their troubled legacies, mother and daughter untangle the threads of love, violence, and secrets that formed them―and that will stubbornly, beautifully, bind them forever.
Visit Francesca McDonnell Capossela's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Girl Prince"

Coming soon from Hurst: The Girl Prince: Virginia Woolf, Race and the Dreadnought Hoax by Danell Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:

In February 1910, the young woman who would become Virginia Woolf played the most famous practical joke in British military history. Blackening her face and masquerading as an African prince, with friends she conned her way onto the Dreadnought, the Empire's best battleship. The stunt made headlines around the world for weeks, embarrassed the Royal Navy, and provoked heated discussions in parliament. But who was the 'girl prince' unidentified in public debate at the time, and what was she doing there?

The Girl Prince intertwines three fascinating stories: a scandalous prank and its afterlife; Woolf's ideas about race and empire; and the true Black experience in Britain, from real princes to Caribbean writers and South African activists. Woolf's social circle was near-exclusively white, but Black lives edged and echoed hers within the rich fabric of national culture, including in response to the hoax. Using letters, diaries, reporting and newly discovered archives, Danell Jones describes an extraordinary chain of events, exploring how and why this future revolutionary novelist joined in a bigoted blackface prank, and probing what it tells us--about Woolf's Britain and Woolf's work.

This is a tantalizingly fresh take on an iconic writer and her deeply problematic stunt.
Visit Danell Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Frances and the Werewolves of the Black Forest"

New from HarperCollins: Frances and the Werewolves of the Black Forest by Refe Tuma.

About the book, from the publisher:

Child genius and budding inventor Frances is in trouble. Her dreams of scientific glory were dashed when her first big experiment nearly destroyed her whole town. So when a prestigious society invites her to their symposium, Frances sees it as a chance to redeem herself.

On the way there, her train is hijacked, and she and her friend Luca flee into the Black Forest. Seeking shelter with a group of orphans, Frances learns the rules of the woods: Never travel alone. Never make a sound. Because something hunts in the shadows, something with glowing eyes and sharp teeth.

Frances is no stranger to monsters, but she quickly learns there are forces more terrifying than she ever imagined…and that the key to defeating them might lie in her own scientific discoveries. With Luca and the orphans at her side, Frances must again face the horrifying, this time determined to stop evil and make a name for herself, once and for all.

Filled with friendship, humor, daring deeds, and a spunky main character who will definitely steal your heart, this historical fantasy is perfect for fans of Serafina and the Black Cloak and Greenglass House.
Visit Refe Tuma's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Voodoo: The History of a Racial Slur"

Coming soon from Oxford University Press: Voodoo: The History of a Racial Slur by Danielle N. Boaz.

About the book, from the publisher:

Coined in the middle of the nineteenth century, the term "voodoo" has been deployed largely by people in the U.S. to refer to spiritual practices--real or imagined--among people of African descent. "Voodoo" is one way that white people have invoked their anxieties and stereotypes about Black people--to call them uncivilized, superstitious, hypersexual, violent, and cannibalistic.

In this book, Danielle Boaz explores public perceptions of "voodoo" as they have varied over time, with an emphasis on the intricate connection between stereotypes of "voodoo" and debates about race and human rights. The term has its roots in the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s, especially following the Union takeover of New Orleans, when it was used to propagate the idea that Black Americans held certain "superstitions" that allegedly proved that they were unprepared for freedom, the right to vote, and the ability to hold public office. Similar stereotypes were later extended to Cuba and Haiti in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the 1930s, Black religious movements like the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam were derided as "voodoo cults." More recently, ideas about "voodoo" have shaped U.S. policies toward Haitian immigrants in the 1980s, and international responses to rituals to bind Nigerian women to human traffickers in the twenty-first century. Drawing on newspapers, travelogues, magazines, legal documents, and books, Boaz shows that the term "voodoo" has often been a tool of racism, colonialism, and oppression.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 24, 2023


Coming soon from the University of Iowa Press: Nadia by Christine Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:

Nadia moves between the competing perspectives of two survivors of the 1990s Balkan Wars who have escaped to London, only to discover that the war has followed them there. Nadia is a young refugee who just wants to forget the past—until Iggy starts temping at her London office. Afraid he may be a sniper from the war she fled, Nadia starts seeing threats everywhere, alongside unsettling visions of her lost girlfriend, Sanja. As her volatile connection with Iggy unravels, Nadia is forced to face the ethically shaky choices she made to escape the war, her survivor guilt, and her disavowed queer sexuality.

Christine Evans's novel takes us to the recent past of a war that broke apart a European country and that presciently foreshadowed the rise of ethno-nationalism in the West. Tense, suspenseful, and mordantly funny, Nadia tracks the complex ways in which a past marked by political violence can shadow and disrupt the present.
Visit Christine Evans's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Political Rumors"

New from Princeton University Press: Political Rumors: Why We Accept Misinformation and How to Fight It by Adam J. Berinsky.

About the book, from the publisher:

Political rumors and misinformation pollute the political landscape. This is not a recent phenomenon; before the currently rampant and unfounded rumors about a stolen election and vote-rigging, there were other rumors that continued to spread even after they were thoroughly debunked, including doubts about 9/11 (an “inside job”) and the furor over President Obama’s birthplace and birth certificate. If misinformation crowds out the truth, how can Americans communicate with one another about important issues? In this book, Adam Berinsky examines why political rumors exist and persist despite their unsubstantiated and refuted claims, who is most likely to believe them, and how to combat them.

Drawing on original survey and experimental data, Berinsky shows that a tendency toward conspiratorial thinking and vehement partisan attachment fuel belief in rumors. Yet the reach of rumors is wide, and Berinsky argues that in fighting misinformation, it is as important to target the undecided and the uncertain as it is the true believers. We’re all vulnerable to misinformation, and public skepticism about the veracity of political facts is damaging to democracy. Moreover, in a world where most people simply don’t pay attention to politics, political leaders are often guilty of disseminating false information—and failing to correct it when it is proven wrong. Berinsky suggests that we should focus on the messenger as much as the message of rumors. Just as important as how misinformation is debunked is who does the debunking.
--Marshal Zeringue

"It Ends with Knight"

New from Thomas & Mercer: It Ends with Knight (Nena Knight) by Yasmin Angoe.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this thrilling conclusion of the Nena Knight series, the trained assassin will have to confront the ghosts of her past…before she becomes one herself.

Until his untimely death, Nena’s mentor was the backbone of the Tribe. With his leadership position unfilled and despite the Tribe’s newfound misgivings about her, Nena has stepped into a new role she never wanted.

Politics is an entirely new venture for her, and now one of the Tribe’s own has been kidnapped, forcing her back to her origins as an assassin. But the only person qualified for such a rescue mission is Nena Knight―and a new team whose trust in her continues to waver.

Determined to harness the power of her former role to succeed in her new one, Nena must also face what she left behind. Old fears, resentments, and anger threaten the precarious hold Nena has on her new life as she realizes that the past―and the people from it―are never far behind.
Visit Yasmin Angoe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Corruption and Global Justice"

New from Oxford University Press: Corruption and Global Justice by Gillian Brock.

About the book, from the publisher:

Corruption is a pervasive problem across the world and is regularly ranked as among the greatest global challenges. Considering the role that corruption plays in exacerbating deprivation and fuelling social tension, peaceful and just societies are unlikely to come about without tackling corruption.

Addressing corruption should be a high priority for those concerned with poverty eradication, peace, security, and justice. Yet, curiously, corruption has not yet been the focus of any books by philosophers working on global justice topics. Corruption and Global Justice does so. Author Gillian Brock offers a normatively justified account of how to allocate responsibilities for addressing corruption across the many agents who can and should play a role. In order to know who should take responsibility and how they should do so, we need to understand multiple forms of corruption, the corruption risks associated with various activities, the interventions that tackle corruption effectively, and current policy and legal frameworks in place for addressing corruption. In addition, Brock proposes a new framework for navigating responsibility to address injustice, one that is action-oriented and forward-looking. Adopting an agent-empowering approach and harnessing the power of joining forces in effective collective action, Corruption and Global Justice addresses a significant global problem in a comprehensive way, providing the tools we need for progress as we collaborate to tackle this global scourge.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

"The Starfish Sisters"

New from Lake Union: The Starfish Sisters: A Novel by Barbara O'Neal.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the USA Today bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes an emotional novel about two women facing the betrayals, heartbreaks, and refuge of true friendship.

Phoebe and Suze used to be closer than sisters. Growing up in a quiet and wildly beautiful coastal town in Oregon, they shared everything. Until the secrets they couldn’t share threatened their bond and complicated their lives.

Now, decades later, Suze, a famous actress desperate for safe haven following a brutal attack, is back in town. Phoebe, a successful illustrator and fabric designer, has discovered keeping a secret means she can’t let anyone get close, aside from her beloved granddaughter, Jasmine. As Jasmine’s move to London looms, Phoebe doesn’t know how to face the return of her old friend and all that’s still unsaid between them. Can the two women who’ve never confronted their past do it now when the choice is between healing and survival?

Heartfelt and layered, The Starfish Sisters is a moving story about the complicated nature of female friendship, the joys and heartbreaks of life, and the resiliency and power that women possess.
Visit Barbara O'Neal's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Murder in a Mill Town"

New from Oxford University Press: Murder in a Mill Town: Sex, Faith, and the Crime That Captivated a Nation by Bruce Dorsey.

About the book, from the publisher:

A master storyteller presents a riveting drama of America's first "crime of the century"--from murder investigation to a church sex scandal to celebrity trial--and its aftermath.

In December 1832 a farmer found the body of a young, pregnant woman hanging near a haystack outside a New England mill town. When news spread that Methodist preacher Ephraim Avery was accused of murdering Sarah Maria Cornell, a factory worker, the case gave the public everything they found irresistible: sexually charged violence, adultery, the hypocrisy of a church leader, secrecy and mystery, and suspicions of insanity. Murder in a Mill Town tells the story of how a local crime quickly turned into a national scandal that became America's first "trial of the century."

After her death--after she became the country's most notorious "factory girl"--Cornell's choices about work, survival, and personal freedom became enmeshed in stories that Americans told themselves about their new world of industry and women's labor and the power of religion in the early republic. Writers penned seduction tales, true-crime narratives, detective stories, political screeds, songs, poems, and melodramatic plays about the lurid scandal. As trial witnesses, ordinary people gave testimony that revealed rapidly changing times. As the controversy of Cornell's murder spread beyond the courtroom, the public eagerly devoured narratives of moral deviance, abortion, suicide, mobs, "fake news," and conspiracy politics. Long after the jury's verdict, the nation refused to let the scandal go.

A meticulously reconstructed historical whodunit, Murder in a Mill Town exposes the troublesome workings of criminal justice in the young democracy and the rise of a sensational popular culture.
Visit Bruce Dorsey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


Coming September 26 from Harper: Penance: A Novel by Eliza Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:

From the author of the cult hit Boy Parts comes a chilling, brilliantly told story of murder among a group of teenage girls—a powerful and disturbing novel as piercing in its portrait of young women as Emma Cline’s The Girls.

On a beach in a run-down seaside town on the Yorkshire coastline, sixteen-year-old Joan Wilson is set on fire by three other schoolgirls.

Nearly a decade after the horrifying murder, journalist Alec Z. Carelli has written the definitive account of the crime, drawn from hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, painstaking historical research, and most notably, correspondence with the killers themselves. The result is a riveting snapshot of lives rocked by tragedy, and a town left in turmoil.

But how much of the story is true?

Compulsively readable, provocative, and disturbing, Penance is a cleverly nuanced, unflinching exploration of gender, class, and power that raises troubling questions about the media and our obsession with true crime while bringing to light the depraved side of human nature and our darkest proclivities.
Visit Eliza Clark's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Environmental Humanities on the Brink"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Environmental Humanities on the Brink: The Vanitas Hypothesis by Vincent Bruyere.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this experimental work of ecocriticism, Vincent Bruyere confronts the seeming pointlessness of the humanities amid spectacularly negative future projections of environmental collapse.

The vanitas paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries dazzlingly depict heaps of riches alongside skulls, shells, and hourglasses. Sometimes even featuring the illusion that their canvases are peeling away, vanitas images openly declare their own pointlessness in relation to the future. This book takes inspiration from the vanitas tradition to fearlessly contemplate the stakes of the humanities in the Anthropocene present, when the accumulated human record could well outlast the climate conditions for our survival. Staging a series of unsettling encounters with early modern texts and images whose claims of relevance have long since expired, Bruyere experiments with the interpretive affordances of allegory and fairytale, still life and travelogues. Each chapter places a vanitas motif—canvas, debris, toxics, paper, ark, meat, and light—in conversation with stories and images of the Anthropocene, from the Pleistocene Park geoengineering project to toxic legacies to in-vitro meat.

Considering questions of quiet erasure and environmental memory, this book argues we ought to keep reading, even by the flickering light of extinction.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

"Don't Forget to Write"

New from Lake Union: Don't Forget to Write: A Novel by Sara Goodman Confino.

About the book, from the publisher:

In 1960, a young woman discovers a freedom she never knew existed in this exhilarating, funny, and emotional novel by the bestselling author of She’s Up to No Good.

When Marilyn Kleinman is caught making out with the rabbi’s son in front of the whole congregation, her parents ship her off to her great-aunt Ada for the summer. If anyone can save their daughter’s reputation, it’s Philadelphia’s strict premier matchmaker. Either that or Marilyn can kiss college goodbye.

To Marilyn’s surprise, Ada’s not the humorless septuagenarian her mother described. Not with that platinum-blonde hair, Hermès scarf, and Cadillac convertible. She’s sharp, straight-talking, takes her job very seriously, and abides by her own rules…mostly. As the summer unfolds, Ada and Marilyn head for the Jersey shore, where Marilyn helps Ada scope out eligible matches―for anyone but Marilyn, that is.

Because if there’s one thing Marilyn’s learned from Ada, it’s that she doesn’t have to settle. With the school year quickly approaching and her father threatening to disinherit her, Marilyn must make her choice for her future: return to the comfortable life she knows or embrace a risky, unknown path on her own.
Visit Sara Goodman Confino's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Helen of Troy in Hollywood"

New from Princeton University Press: Helen of Troy in Hollywood by Ruby Blondell.

About the book, from the publisher:

Helen of Troy in Hollywood examines the figure of the mythic Helen in film and television, showing how storytellers from different Hollywood eras have used Helen to grapple with the problems and dynamics of gender and idealized femininity. Paying careful attention to how the image of Helen is embodied by the actors who have portrayed her, Ruby Blondell provides close readings of such works as Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy and the Star Trek episode “Elaan of Troyius,” going beyond contextualization to lead the reader through a fundamental rethinking of how we understand and interpret the classic tradition.

A luminous work of scholarship by one of today’s leading classicists, Helen of Troy in Hollywood highlights the importance of ancient myths not as timeless stories frozen in the past but as lenses through which to view our own artistic, cultural, and political moment in a new light. This incisive book demonstrates how, whether as the hero of these screen adaptations or as a peripheral character in male-dominated adventures, the mythic Helen has become symbolic of the perceived dangers of superhuman beauty and transgressive erotic agency.
--Marshal Zeringue

"All the Dead Shall Weep"

New from Gallery / Saga Press: All the Dead Shall Weep by Charlaine Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:

#1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author returns with the fifth installment in the bestselling Gunnie Rose series as sisters Lizbeth Rose and Felicia as well as brother Eli and Peter, are reunited in Texoma only to break apart before the Wizard’s Ball held in San Diego, which will determine all their fates.

Following the murderous events of the “gripping...thrill-ride” (Karin Slaughter) Serpent of Heaven, Lizbeth Rose is awaiting the arrival of her sister Felicia and her husband’s younger brother Eli in Texoma. Both needed to leave the seat of the Holy Russian Empire in San Diego after Felicia’s burgeoning wizardly power in death magic became the reason for kidnapping and assassination attempts from her mother’s family of high-powered wizards in Mexico.

Yet bad news has traveled ahead of them, as Eli is called back to San Diego, taking Peter along with him, splitting them apart in more ways than one as their enemies’ plans for revenge come to fruition. In this fifth installment in the beloved and bestselling Gunnie Rose series, #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Charlaine Harris has crafted a family drama of murderous and magical thrills.
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Charlaine Harris & Scrunch, Rocky, and Oscar.

Visit Charlaine Harris' website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Grow and Hide"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Grow and Hide: The History of America's Health Care State by Colleen M. Grogan.

About the book, from the publisher:

A sweeping history of the American health care state that reveals the public has been intentionally misled about the true role of government.

The US government has always invested federal, state and local dollars in public health protection and prevention. Despite this public funding, however, Americans typically believe the current system is predominantly comprised of private actors with little government interference. In Grow & Hide, Colleen M. Grogan details the history of the American health care state and argues that the public has been intentionally misled about the true role of government.

The US created a publicly financed system while framing it as the opposite in what Grogan terms the "grow-and-hide regime." Today, the state's role is larger than ever, yet it remains largely hidden because stakeholders-namely, private actors and their allies in government-have repeatedly, and successfully, presented the illusion of minimal government involvement. The consequences of this narrative are scarce accountability and a highly unequal distribution of benefits.

In the wake of a pandemic that has killed over one million Americans--with the highest death rates among minorities and lower-income people--the time has come for an honest discussion about the health care system. As Grogan reveals, America has never had a system that resembles a competitive, free-market model. Given how much the government already invests in the health care system, means how these funds are distributed and administered are fundamental political questions for the American public, not questions that should be decided by the private sector. If we want to fix care in America, we need to reimagine the way it is organized, prioritized, funded, and, perhaps most importantly, discussed. Grow & Hide is an important contribution to this reimagining.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 21, 2023

"Proud Sorrows"

New from Soho Crime: Proud Sorrows by James R. Benn.

About the book, from the publisher:

In the eighteenth installment in this fan-favorite WWII mystery series, US Army Captain Billy Boyle investigates a murder in a charming English village, where personal vendettas tangle with wartime espionage.

Norfolk, England, November 1944: After a series of dangerous missions in the South of France, US Army Captain Billy Boyle is finally on leave, and is settling into a peaceful rest at the country estate of Sir Richard Seaton, the father of Billy’s British lover, Diana. Seaton Manor is a comfortable haven, and Billy is eager to spend a few precious days in Diana’s company pretending the war is far away.

Unfortunately, Billy’s leave is cut short when a crashed German bomber resurfaces off the coast with the corpse of a British officer in the pilot seat. The nearby village of Slewford hosts a top-secret military intelligence operation, home to high-ranking German POWs, and so the crash is a matter of national security. Billy is assigned by the commander of the POW facility to investigate. After the plane is discovered, a local villager is murdered—and suddenly what had appeared to be a failed enemy military operation takes on an even more sinister aspect. All Billy’s ex-Boston cop instincts are put to the test as he interviews the grieving, angry, and conniving citizens of this idyllic English country village in search of the truth.
Learn more about the Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Series at James R. Benn's website.

The Page 99 Test: The First Wave.

The Page 69 Test: Evil for Evil.

The Page 69 Test: Rag and Bone.

My Book, The Movie: Death's Door.

The Page 69 Test: The White Ghost.

The Page 69 Test: Blue Madonna.

Writers Read: James R. Benn (September 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Liberalism against Itself"

New from Yale University Press: Liberalism against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times by Samuel Moyn.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Cold War roots of liberalism’s present crisis

By the middle of the twentieth century, many liberals looked glumly at the world modernity had brought about, with its devastating wars, rising totalitarianism, and permanent nuclear terror. They concluded that, far from offering a solution to these problems, the ideals of the Enlightenment, including emancipation and equality, had instead created them. The historian of political thought Samuel Moyn argues that the liberal intellectuals of the Cold War era—among them Isaiah Berlin, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Karl Popper, Judith Shklar, and Lionel Trilling—transformed liberalism but left a disastrous legacy for our time.

In his iconoclastic style, Moyn outlines how Cold War liberals redefined the ideals of their movement and renounced the moral core of the Enlightenment for a more dangerous philosophy: preserving individual liberty at all costs. In denouncing this stance, as well as the recent nostalgia for Cold War liberalism as a means to counter illiberal values, Moyn presents a timely call for a new emancipatory and egalitarian liberal philosophy—a path to undoing the damage of the Cold War and to ensuring the survival of liberalism.
Visit Samuel Moyn's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History.

The Page 99 Test: Christian Human Rights.

The Page 99 Test: Humane.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Salthouse Place"

New from Lake Union: Salthouse Place: A Novel by Jamie Lee Sogn.

About the book, from the publisher:

From debut author Jamie Sogn comes a twisty thriller about the allure of the past and the danger of the truth as a young woman dives headlong into a cult in a desperate search for answers.

In the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest, three best friends spend a day at the lake…but only two come home.

Ten years later, Delia Albio is tormented by the mystery of what happened to fifteen-year-old Zee on the lake that day. When she receives an email from Cara, the remaining friend in the trio, she can’t resist the pull of the “life-changing” news in the message. Delia, hopeful for answers, travels home to see her old friend.

But Cara is gone by the time she gets there, setting off another mystery. When Delia hears about the women’s empowerment group that Cara joined, she sets out for the group’s retreat property on the Oregon coast to find her. Delia feels this could be her chance to reconnect with Cara and reckon with that fateful day at the lake.

Instead, Delia uncovers a possessive group with a dark agenda. As their leadership closes in, Delia hurtles ever closer to the truth―if only she can survive a cult that will protect its secrets at any cost.
Visit Jamie Lee Sogn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Barber of Natchez Reconsidered"

New from LSU Press: The Barber of Natchez Reconsidered: William Johnson and Black Masculinity in the Antebellum South by Timothy R. Buckner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Historians have long considered the diary of William Johnson, a wealthy free Black barber in Natchez, Mississippi, to be among the most significant sources on free African Americans living in the antebellum South. Timothy R. Buckner’s The Barber of Natchez Reconsidered reexamines Johnson’s life using recent scholarship on Black masculinity as an essential lens, demonstrating a complexity to Johnson previously overlooked in academic studies.

While Johnson’s profession as a barber helped him gain acceptance and respectability, it also required his subservience to the needs of his all-white clientele. Buckner’s research counters earlier assumptions that suggested Johnson held himself apart from Natchez’s Black population, revealing instead a man balanced between deep connections to the broader African American community and the necessity to cater to white patrons for economic and social survival.

Buckner also highlights Johnson’s participation in the southern performance of manliness to a degree rarely seen in recent studies of Black masculinity. Like many other free Black men, Johnson asserted his manhood in ways beyond simply rebelling against slavery; he also competed with other men, white and Black, free and enslaved, in various masculine pursuits, including gambling, hunting, and fishing. Buckner’s long-overdue reevaluation of the contents of Johnson’s diary serves as a corrective to earlier works and a fascinating new account of a free African American business owner residing in the prewar South.
--Marshal Zeringue