Monday, April 22, 2024

"Daughters of Shandong"

New from Berkley: Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung.

About the book, from the publisher:

A propulsive, extraordinary novel about a mother and her daughters’ harrowing escape to Taiwan as the Communist revolution sweeps through China, by debut author Eve J. Chung, based on her family story

Daughters are the Ang family’s curse.

In 1948, civil war ravages the Chinese countryside, but in rural Shandong, the wealthy, landowning Angs are more concerned with their lack of an heir. Hai is the eldest of four girls and spends her days looking after her sisters. Headstrong Di, who is just a year younger, learns to hide in plain sight, and their mother—abused by the family for failing to birth a boy—finds her own small acts of rebellion in the kitchen. As the Communist army closes in on their town, the rest of the prosperous household flees, leaving behind the girls and their mother because they view them as useless mouths to feed.

Without an Ang male to punish, the land-seizing cadres choose Hai, as the eldest child, to stand trial for her family’s crimes. She barely survives their brutality. Realizing the worst is yet to come, the women plan their escape. Starving and penniless but resourceful, they forge travel permits and embark on a thousand-mile journey to confront the family that abandoned them.

From the countryside to the bustling city of Qingdao, and onward to British Hong Kong and eventually Taiwan, they witness the changing tide of a nation and the plight of multitudes caught in the wake of revolution. But with the loss of their home and the life they’ve known also comes new freedom—to take hold of their fate, to shake free of the bonds of their gender, and to claim their own story.

Told in assured, evocative prose, with impeccably drawn characters, Daughters of Shandong is a hopeful, powerful story about the resilience of women in war; the enduring love between mothers, daughters, and sisters; and the sacrifices made to lift up future generations.
Visit Eve J. Chung's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"After Tragedy Strikes"

New from the University of California Press: After Tragedy Strikes: Why Claims of Trauma and Loss Promote Public Outrage and Encourage Political Polarization by Thomas D. Beamish.

About the book, from the publisher:

While trauma and loss can occur anywhere, most suffering is experienced as personal tragedy. Yet some tragedies transcend everyday life's sad but inevitable traumas to become notorious public events: de facto "public" tragedies. In these crises, suffering is made publicly visible and lamentable. Such tragedies are defined by public accusations, social blame, outpourings of grief and anger, spontaneous memorialization, and collective action. These, in turn, generate a comparable set of political reactions, including denial, denunciation, counterclaims, blame avoidance, and a competition to control memories of the event.

Disasters and crises are no more or less common today than in the past, but public tragedies now seem ubiquitous. After Tragedy Strikes argues that they are now epochal—public tragedies have become the day's definitive social and political events. Thomas D. Beamish deftly explores this phenomenon by developing the historical context within which these events occur and the role that political elites, the media, and an emergent ideology of victimhood have played in cultivating their ascendence.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Wolf's Eye"

Coming soon from 47North: The Wolf's Eye: A Novel (The Order of the Seven Stars) by Luanne G. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:

Under the full moon of World War I, a baleful curse threatens to tear apart a witch’s found family in a novel by the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Raven Spell.

Petra Kurková―a witch who wields magic worth its weight in gold―is tasked with combating the undead on World War I’s eastern front. The battlefield has yielded a newfound closeness for her spellbound team, especially for Josef Svoboda, a recruiter for the Order of the Seven Stars. But Josef was bitten at the start of the war, leaving his blood tainted by a strain of the vlkodlak curse, which makes him a target of the Order’s latest mission: slay the werewolves prowling the eastern front under the moonlight.

Petra refuses to give up on one of their own. From the hasty kill order of a clandestine society to the long-lost spells in an old grimoire to the unraveling mysteries of Petra’s own past, the urgency to save Josef grows, particularly as his feral impulses become harder to control. The werewolves are closing in. So, too, are the bounty hunters eager to collect. As Petra’s team finds itself at a magical crossroads, Josef devises an ambush of his own―one that could wipe out the cursed threat forever or endanger everything and everyone he loves.
Visit Luanne G. Smith's website.

Q&A with Luanne G. Smith.

The Page 69 Test: The Raven Spell.

The Page 69 Test: The Raven Song.

The Page 69 Test: The Witch's Lens.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Nation of Family and Friends?"

New from Rutgers University Press: A Nation of Family and Friends?: Sport and the Leisure Cultures of British Asian Girls and Women by Aarti Ratna.

About the book, from the publisher:

In A Nation of Family and Friends, sociologist Aarti Ratna examines the complex and dynamic relationships between South Asian women and sporting and leisure cultures. Mining autobiographical insights (as a South Asian scholar living in the UK) she links the chapters of this innovative book using the sociological concepts of family and friends, particularly as they relate to an analysis of wider debates about the complexities of race, gender, and the nation. Ratna underscores the importance of studying informal spaces of sport and leisure as friendly, familial, sociable, and political spaces. She simultaneously highlights the role of earlier sociological research in disseminating myths about South Asian women as too physically weak to play competitive sports; culturally passive victims of South Asian cultures and religions; and as sexually exotic women requiring saving through colonial and imperial projects led by white men and women.

Ratna also examines two key cultural objects - the popular films "Bend it Like Beckham" and “Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal” - to examine in detail the gendered representation of South Asian soccer players’ engagement in amateur and elite levels of the sport. She critiques studies of women’s football fandom and sport that fail to acknowledge social differences relating to race, class, age, disability, and sexuality. By linking the social forces (across time and space) that differentially affect their sporting choices and leisure lifestyles, Ratna portrays the women of the South Asian diaspora as active agents in the shaping of their life courses and as skilled navigators of the complexities affecting their own identities. Ultimately Ratna examines the intersections of class, caste, age, generation, gender, and sexuality, to provide a rich and critical exploration of British Asian women's sport and leisure choices, pleasures, and lived realities.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 21, 2024

"Their Divine Fires"

New from Algonquin Books: Their Divine Fires: A Novel by Wendy Chen.

About the book, from the publisher:

A captivating and intimate debut novel interwoven with folktale and myth, Wendy Chen’s Their Divine Fires tells the story of the love affairs of three generations of Chinese women across one hundred years of revolutions both political and personal.

In 1917, at the dawn of the Chinese revolution, Yunhong is growing up in the southern china countryside and falls deeply in love with the son of a wealthy landlord despite her brother’s objections. On the night of her wedding, her brother destroys the marriage, irrevocably changing the shape of Yunhong’s family to come: her daughter, Yuexin, will never know her father. Haunted by a history that she does not understand, Yuexin passes on those memories to her daughters Hongxing and Yonghong, who come of age in the years following Mao’s death, battling the push and pull of political forces as they forge their own paths. Each generation guards its secrets, leaving Emily, great-granddaughter of Yunhong and living in contemporary America, to piece together what actually happened between her mother and her aunt, and the weight of their shared ancestry.

Drawing on the lives of her great-grandmother and her great-uncles—both of whom fought on the side of the Communists—as well as her mother’s experiences during the Cultural Revolution, Wendy Chen infuses this gorgeous debut with a passion that will transport the reader back to powerful moments in history while bringing us close to the women who persisted despite the forces all around them. Both brilliant and haunting, it’s a story about what our ancestors will, and won’t, tell us.
Visit Wendy Chen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Empireworld"

New from PublicAffairs: Empireworld: How British Imperialism Shaped the Globe by Sathnam Sanghera.

About the book, from the publisher:

Bestselling author and journalist Sathnam Sanghera explores the global legacy of the British Empire, and the ways it continues to influence economics, politics, and culture around the world.

2.6 billion people are inhabitants of former British colonies. The empire's influence upon the quarter of the planet it occupied, and its gravitational influence upon the world outside it, has been profound: from the spread of Christianity by missionaries to the shaping international law. Even today, 1 in 3 people drive on the left hand side of the road, an artifact of the British empire. Yet Britain's idea of its imperial history and the world's experience of it are two very different things. Following in the footsteps of his bestselling book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain, Empireworld explores the ways in which British Empire has come to shape the modern world

Sanghera visits Barbados, where he uncovers how Caribbean nations are still struggling to emerge from the disadvantages sown by transatlantic slavery. He examines how large charities—like Save the Children and the World Bank—still see the world through the imperial eyes of their colonial founders, and how the political instability of nations, such as Nigeria, for instance, can be traced back to tensions seeded in their colonial foundations. And from the British Empire's role in the transportation of 12.5 million Africans during the Atlantic slave trade, to the 35 million Indians who died due to famine caused by British policy, the British Empire, as Sanghera reveals, was responsible for some of the largest demographic changes in human history.

Economic, legal and political systems across the world continue to function along the lines originally drawn by the British Empire, and cultural, sexual, psychological, linguistic, demographic, and educational norms originally established by imperial Britons continue to shape our lives. British Empire may have peaked a century ago, and it may have been mostly dismantled by 1997, but in this major new work, Sathnam Sanghera ultimately shows how the largest empire in world history still exerts influence over planet Earth in all sorts of silent and unsilent ways.
Visit Sathnam Sanghera's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Cinema Love"

New from Dutton: Cinema Love: A Novel by Jiaming Tang.

About the book, from the publisher:

A staggering, tender epic about gay men in rural China and the women who marry them.

For over thirty years, Old Second and Bao Mei have cobbled together a meager existence in New York City’s Chinatown. But unlike other couples, these two share an unusual past. In rural Fuzhou, before they emigrated, they frequented the Workers’ Cinema: a theater where gay men cruised for love.

While classic war films played, Old Second and his countrymen found intimacy in the screening rooms. In the box office, Bao Mei sold movie tickets to closeted men, guarding their secrets and finding her own happiness with the projectionist. But when Old Second’s passion for his male lover is revealed, a series of haunting events unfold, propelling these characters toward an uncertain future in America.

Spanning three timelines—post-socialist China, 1980s Chinatown, and contemporary New York—Cinema Love is an “exceptional” and “moving” (Alice Hoffman) epic about men and women who find themselves in forbidden relationships; the weight of secrets; and the way memory forever haunts the present.
Visit Jiaming Tang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Insiders’ Game"

New from Princeton University Press: The Insiders’ Game: How Elites Make War and Peace by Elizabeth N. Saunders.

About the book, from the publisher:

How elites shape the use of force in American foreign policy

One of the most widely held views of democratic leaders is that they are cautious about using military force because voters can hold them accountable, ultimately making democracies more peaceful. How, then, are leaders able to wage war in the face of popular opposition, or end conflicts when the public still supports them? The Insiders’ Game sheds light on this enduring puzzle, arguing that the primary constraints on decisions about war and peace come from elites, not the public.

Elizabeth Saunders focuses on three groups of elites—presidential advisers, legislators, and military officials—to show how the dynamics of this insiders’ game are key to understanding the use of force in American foreign policy. She explores how elite preferences differ from those of ordinary voters, and how leaders must bargain with elites to secure their support for war. Saunders provides insights into why leaders start and prolong conflicts the public does not want, but also demonstrates how elites can force leaders to change course and end wars.

Tracing presidential decisions about the use of force from the Cold War through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Saunders reveals how the elite politics of war are a central feature of democracy. The Insiders’ Game shifts the focus of democratic accountability from the voting booth to the halls of power.
Visit Elizabeth N. Saunders's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Accidental Joe"

Coming May 14 from Regalo Press: The Accidental Joe: The Top-Secret Life of a Celebrity Chef by Tom Straw.

About the book, from the publisher:

A maverick celebrity chef reluctantly agrees to let the CIA use his hugely popular international food, culture, and travel TV series as cover for a dangerous espionage mission.

When the CIA approaches celebrity chef Sebastian Pike about using his award-winning food and culture travel show as cover for espionage, the outspoken bad-boy host says no. When they point out how roaming the globe interviewing foodies, heads of state, rock stars, journalists-in-exile, poets, subversives, supermodels—even the pope—gives him perfect cover, Pike smiles and says, “F@#! no.”

They push. Promising it’s only one mission. Vowing he won’t be in danger. Calling him the MVB: Most Valuable Bystander. They’d embed their top agent in his crew to do the spy work.

It’s still no. But when they hit him with the patriotism card, he weakens. And when romantic sparks crackle between him and the female agent, Pike’s all in, kicking off a romantic spy thriller in which the globetrotting celebrity chef uses his TV series to help sneak Putin’s accountant out of Russia before he’s exposed as a mole for US intelligence.

The high-stakes mission quickly puts Pike in harm’s way. So much for MVB. There’s danger, there’s double dealing, there’s torture, there’s shooting with real bullets. Plus, a minefield of complications from the hot romance that grows between Pike and his gutsy CIA handler-producer, Cammie Nova.

From Paris to Provence, this chef is no bystander. Beyond their attraction, Pike and Nova become an operational team, not only to survive the perils they face but to pull off an operation fraught with one twist after another, capped by a shocking, emotional climax.
Visit Tom Straw's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Yemen Model"

New from Yale University Press: The Yemen Model: Why U.S. Policy Has Failed in the Middle East by Alexandra Stark.

About the book, from the publisher:

A close look at failed U.S. policies in the Middle East, offering a fresh perspective on how best to reorient goals in the region

In this book Alexandra Stark argues that the U.S. approach to Yemen offers insights into the failures of American foreign policy throughout the Middle East. Stark makes the case that despite often being drawn into conflicts within Yemen, the United States has not achieved its policy goals because it has narrowly focused on counterterrorism and regional geopolitical competition rather than on the well-being of Yemenis themselves. She offers recommendations designed to reorient U.S. policy in the Middle East in pursuit of U.S. national security interests and to support the people of these countries in their efforts to make their own communities safe, secure, and prosperous.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 20, 2024

"The Judge"

Coming soon from Severn House: The Judge (An Andy Roark mystery, 5) by Peter Colt.

About the book, from the publisher:

When a Boston judge is being blackmailed, Andy Roark must find out who is behind the threat before lives get ruined in this thrilling mystery featuring the Vietnam veteran turned private investigator.

Boston, 1985. With the late December cold comes a new job for ex-military operative turned private investigator Andy Roark. Boston judge Ambrose Messer is being blackmailed, and he needs Roark's help to stop the culprit.

Messer is judging the bench trial of a chemical company accused of knowingly dumping chemical waste in an unsafe manner, causing birth defects and cancer. The evidence against them is overwhelming, but the message from the blackmailer is clear: If you don't want the world to know your secret, the chemical company wins. Messer doesn't want to let a threat corrupt his judgement . . . but then again, he could lose everything if his secret comes out!

Judging his client to be a man with morals, Roark plunges into action, determined to find the blackmailer before it's too late. But the disturbing, unexpected revelations he uncovers make him a target of some very dangerous people, who soon seem determined not only to wreck the life of his client, but to destroy Roark's too . . .

Written by a US Army veteran and New England police officer, this new instalment in the Andy Roark mystery series will appeal to fans who love a hard-boiled protagonist with a complex backstory and a plot filled with unexpected twists and action-packed scenes.
Visit Peter Colt's website.

My Book, The Movie: Back Bay Blues.

The Page 69 Test: Back Bay Blues.

Q&A with Peter Colt.

The Page 69 Test: Death at Fort Devens.

My Book, The Movie: Death at Fort Devens.

Writers Read: Peter Colt (June 2022).

My Book, The Movie: The Ambassador.

The Page 69 Test: The Ambassador.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Staging Buenos Aires"

New from University of Pittsburgh Press: Staging Buenos Aires: Theater, Society, and Politics in Argentina 1860-1920 by Kristen McCleary.

About the book, from the publisher:

Staging Buenos Aires centers theater as a source of historical inquiry to understand how nonelites experienced and shaped a city undergoing dramatic transformations. Commercial theater constituted the core of the city’s public sphere, one in which middle-class playwrights and audiences assumed the leading role. Audiences and critics often disagreed about what was “acceptable” entertainment. Playwrights used theater to promote their own ideas of sociopolitical change, creating a space for working- and middle-class audiences to identify and push back against imposed regulations and attitudes. Cultural production on the city’s stages revealed fissures and social anxieties about the expansion of the political system and of the public sphere as women became increasingly visible in urban spaces. At the same time, theater also gave structure and meaning to these rapid changes, providing the space for the city’s playwrights and complex publics to play a key role in identifying, processing, and shaping the transforming nation. Plays helped audience members work through dramatic shifts in societal norms as urbanization and industrialization resulted in the visible decline of patriarchal social structures, made most visible in the urban sphere.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Bad Men"

New from The Overlook Press: Bad Men: A Novel by Julie Mae Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

Meet the most irresistible serial killer of the year . . . Award-winning author Julie Mae Cohen’s twisty feminist thriller is lethal and wickedly fun.

Saffy Huntley-Oliver is an intelligent and glamorous socialite; she also happens to be a proficient serial killer. For the past fifteen years, she’s hunted down and dispatched rapists, murderers, domestic abusers—bad men all. But leading a double life has left her lonely—dating’s tough when your boyfriend might turn out to be your next victim. Saffy thinks she’s finally found a truly good man in Jonathan Desrosiers, a true-crime podcaster who’s amassed legions of die-hard fans for cracking cold cases and bringing justice to victims.

When a decapitated body shows up on Jon’s doorstep the morning after his wife leaves him, he becomes the chief suspect for a murder he insists he didn’t commit. Saffy’s crush becomes an obsession as she orchestrates a meet-cute and volunteers to help Jon clear his name, using every trick up her sleeve to find the real killer and get her man—no matter the cost.

Darkly comic and addictively readable, Bad Men is a wild romp of a feminist thriller that asks if even a serial killer can have a happily ever after.
Visit Julie Mae Cohen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Natural Magic"

New from Princeton University Press: Natural Magic: Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, and the Dawn of Modern Science by Renée Bergland.

About the book, from the publisher:

A captivating portrait of the poet and the scientist who shared an enchanted view of nature

Emily Dickinson and Charles Darwin were born at a time when the science of studying the natural world was known as natural philosophy, a pastime for poets, priests, and schoolgirls. The world began to change in the 1830s, while Darwin was exploring the Pacific aboard the Beagle and Dickinson was a student in Amherst, Massachusetts. Poetry and science started to grow apart, and modern thinkers challenged the old orthodoxies, offering thrilling new perspectives that suddenly felt radical—and too dangerous for women.

Natural Magic intertwines the stories of these two luminary nineteenth-century minds whose thought and writings captured the awesome possibilities of the new sciences and at the same time strove to preserve the magic of nature. Just as Darwin’s work was informed by his roots in natural philosophy and his belief in the interconnectedness of all life, Dickinson’s poetry was shaped by her education in botany, astronomy, and chemistry, and by her fascination with the enchanting possibilities of Darwinian science. Casting their two very different careers in an entirely fresh light, Renée Bergland brings to life a time when ideas about science were rapidly evolving, reshaped by poets, scientists, philosophers, and theologians alike. She paints a colorful portrait of a remarkable century that transformed how we see the natural world.

Illuminating and insightful, Natural Magic explores how Dickinson and Darwin refused to accept the separation of art and science. Today, more than ever, we need to reclaim their shared sense of ecological wonder.
Visit Renée Bergland's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Vacation Rental"

New from Little A: The Vacation Rental: A Novel by Katie Sise.

About the book, from the publisher:

A summer getaway triggers a psychological game of cat and mouse in a novel about the frightening damages of love, family, and obsession by the bestselling author of Open House and We Were Mothers.

When Georgia rents her country home for the month of August, it’s off to the relaxing Connecticut shore for her; her husband, Tom; and their young daughter. It’s just what they need to ease family tensions and reconnect. All that’s left to do is leave behind their house keys―to a stranger.

For Anna, Georgia and Tom’s house in the cool woodlands is a dream break from the oppressive heat of a New York City summer―and from an increasingly ill-fated relationship with her lover. A month apart and Anna can clear her head and reassess her future. She’s found the perfect place to do it.

As the weeks wear on, Georgia and Anna discover that the pleasures of escape are as difficult to trust in as the comforts of home. And neither one can shake the feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong.
Visit Katie Sise's website.

Writers Read: Katie Sise (September 2018).

The Page 69 Test: The Break.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Constitutional Bind"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Constitutional Bind: How Americans Came to Idolize a Document That Fails Them by Aziz Rana.

About the book, from the publisher:

An eye-opening account of how Americans came to revere the Constitution and what this reverence has meant domestically and around the world.

Some Americans today worry that the Federal Constitution is ill-equipped to respond to mounting democratic threats and may even exacerbate the worst features of American politics. Yet for as long as anyone can remember, the Constitution has occupied a quasi-mythical status in American political culture, which ties ideals of liberty and equality to assumptions about the inherent goodness of the text’s design. The Constitutional Bind explores how a flawed document came to be so glorified and how this has impacted American life.

In a pathbreaking retelling of the American experience, Aziz Rana shows that today’s reverential constitutional culture is a distinctively twentieth-century phenomenon. Rana connects this widespread idolization to another relatively recent development: the rise of US global dominance. Ultimately, such veneration has had far-reaching consequences: despite offering a unifying language of reform, it has also unleashed an interventionist national security state abroad while undermining the possibility of deeper change at home.

Revealing how the current constitutional order was forged over the twentieth century, The Constitutional Bind also sheds light on an array of movement activists—in Black, Indigenous, feminist, labor, and immigrant politics—who struggled to imagine different constitutional horizons. As time passed, these voices of opposition were excised from memory. Today, they offer essential insights.
Visit Aziz Rana's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 19, 2024

"The Vacancy in Room 10"

New from Graydon House Books: The Vacancy in Room 10 by Seraphina Nova Glass.

About the book, from the publisher:

The Paris Apartment meets The Wrong Family in this thrilling tale of crime, passion and murder set in a run-down apartment complex packed with shady characters willing to go to deadly lengths to keep their darkest secrets from the stranger in their midst.

When Anna Hartley’s husband, Henry, calls her with a terrible, guilty confession, she can’t believe what she hears. It has to be a bad joke—the mild, predictable artist she married would never hurt a fly, let alone commit murder. But her confusion turns to horror when police find his body washed up on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Desperate for answers to the millions of questions his untimely death has raised, Anna checks in to The Sycamores, the run-down motel turned apartment Henry rented as an art studio. As she absorbs every bit of gossip the eclectic mix of residents are willing to share about her husband and each other, she begins to piece together a picture of a very different man than the one she married, and the life he led behind her back. The more she learns, and the less sense things seem to make, she finds herself wondering: Did she ever really know Henry at all?

But Henry’s secrets aren’t the only ones; as Anna’s search for clues expands, Cass, the mysterious, jaded motel manager, seems more and more determined to keep Anna in the dark. And when threatening letters start appearing at her door, Anna has to decide what’s more important—the truth, or her own safety.
Visit Seraphina Nova Glass's website.

Q&A with Seraphina Nova Glass.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other"

New from the University of Chicago Press: A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other: The Deepening Divide Between the Justices and the People by Kevin J. McMahon.

About the book, from the publisher:

A data-rich examination of the US Supreme Court’s unprecedented detachment from the democratic processes that buttress its legitimacy.

Today’s Supreme Court is unlike any other in American history. This is not just because of its jurisprudence but also because the current Court has a tenuous relationship with the democratic processes that help establish its authority. Historically, this “democracy gap” was not nearly as severe as it is today. Simply put, past Supreme Courts were constructed in a fashion far more in line with the promise of democracy—that the people decide and the majority rules.

Drawing on historical and contemporary data alongside a deep knowledge of court battles during presidencies ranging from FDR to Donald Trump, Kevin J. McMahon charts the developments that brought us here. McMahon offers insight into the altered politics of nominating and confirming justices, the shifting pool of Supreme Court hopefuls, and the increased salience of the Court in elections. A Supreme Court Unlike Any Other is an eye-opening account of today’s Court within the context of US history and the broader structure of contemporary politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Bootlegger's Daughter"

New from Lake Union: The Bootlegger's Daughter: A Novel by Nadine Nettmann.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Prohibition-era Los Angeles, two women on opposite sides of the law must take control of their lives, make their marks, and try to survive. Even if it means crossing the line.

It’s 1927. Letty Hart’s father is long gone, but his old winery provides a meager wage and a legal livelihood for selling sacramental wine. But when that contract goes bust, Letty stumbles upon a desperate option: her father’s hidden cellar―and enough liquor to tempt Letty to bootleg the secret stash. In an underworld dominated by merciless men, Letty is building an empire.

Officer Annabel Forman deserves to be the first female detective in the LAPD. But after two years on the force, she’s still consigned to clerical work and policing dance halls. When Annabel connects a series of unsolved murders to bootlegging, it’s a chance at a real investigation. Under the thumb of dismissive male superiors, Annabel is building her case.

As their formerly uncompromised morals erode, Letty and Annabel are on a collision course―and determined to prove they’re every bit as ruthless and strong-willed as the powers that be who want to take them down.
Visit Nadine Nettmann's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Price of Empire"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Price of Empire: American Entrepreneurs and the Origins of America's First Pacific Empire by Miles M. Evers and Eric Grynaviski.

About the book, from the publisher:

The United States was an upside-down British Empire. It had an agrarian economy, few large investors, and no territorial holdings outside of North America. However, decades before the Spanish-American War, the United States quietly began to establish an empire across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean. While conventional wisdom suggests that large interests – the military and major business interests – drove American imperialism, The Price of Empire argues that early American imperialism was driven by small entrepreneurs. When commodity prices boomed, these small entrepreneurs took risks, racing ahead of the American state. Yet when profits were threatened, they clamoured for the US government to follow them into the Pacific. Through novel, intriguing stories of American small businessmen, this book shows how American entrepreneurs manipulated the United States into pursuing imperial projects in the Pacific. It explores their travels abroad and highlights the consequences of contemporary struggles for justice in the Pacific.
Visit Miles M. Evers's website and Eric Grynaviski's website.

The Page 99 Test: Constructive Illusions by Eric Grynaviski.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 18, 2024

"Star Struck"

New from Crooked Lane Books: Star Struck by Marjorie McCown.

About the book, from the publisher:

Perfect for fans of Elle Cosimano and Kellye Garrett, in this second Hollywood mystery, film costumer Joey Jessop discovers that Hollywood buries its secrets deep when a superstar’s assistant turns up dead.

Costumer Joey Jessop is working on a movie set in 1930s Hollywood and starring two of the world’s biggest stars. The male lead is also a dedicated social activist, and the female lead, Gillian Best, is known for her lifestyle brand. After a hit-and-run near the set, Joey realizes that the car involved belongs to Gillian, and she begins to wonder if the actress has more to hide than her Botox appointments.

Her suspicions deepen when Gillian’s personal assistant, Rita, vows to get revenge for Gillian replacing her and is found dead shortly after. Gillian quickly labels Rita’s death a suicide, and the police seem to agree–but Joey isn’t so sure.

With the police standing aside, it’s up to Joey to dig up the truth—but Hollywood stars know how to keep their secrets close, and a woman like Gillian Best won’t take kindly to someone sniffing around her affairs. Joey is certain that Gillian has something to hide–and she’s determined to find out what.
Visit Marjorie McCown's website.

Q&A with Marjorie McCown.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Scattered and Fugitive Things"

New from Columbia University Press: Scattered and Fugitive Things: How Black Collectors Created Archives and Remade History by Laura Helton.

About the book, from the publisher:

During the first half of the twentieth century, a group of collectors and creators dedicated themselves to documenting the history of African American life. At a time when dominant institutions cast doubt on the value or even the idea of Black history, these bibliophiles, scrapbookers, and librarians created an enduring set of African diasporic archives. In building these institutions and amassing abundant archival material, they also reshaped Black public culture, animating inquiry into the nature and meaning of Black history.

Scattered and Fugitive Things tells the stories of these Black collectors, traveling from the parlors of the urban north to HBCU reading rooms and branch libraries in the Jim Crow south. Laura E. Helton chronicles the work of six key figures: bibliophile Arturo Schomburg, scrapbook maker Alexander Gumby, librarians Virginia Lee and Vivian Harsh, curator Dorothy Porter, and historian L. D. Reddick. Drawing on overlooked sources such as book lists and card catalogs, she reveals the risks collectors took to create Black archives. This book also explores the social life of collecting, highlighting the communities that used these collections from the South Side of Chicago to Roanoke, Virginia. In each case, Helton argues, archiving was alive in the present, a site of intellectual experiment, creative abundance, and political possibility. Offering new ways to understand Black intellectual and literary history, Scattered and Fugitive Things reveals Black collecting as a radical critical tradition that reimagines past, present, and future.
Visit Laura Helton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Lost Lover"

New from Pan Macmillan: The Lost Lover: An epic romantic tale of lovers reunited by Karen Swan.

About the book, from the publisher:

Young Flora MacQueen has always dreamed of more than a hard life on the small Scottish island of St Kilda. And when she catches the eye of visiting adventurer and wealthy businessman James Callaghan her future seems brighter.

Only, as the islanders prepare to leave their homes for the final time, Flora finds her dreams shattered. With her beauty her only currency she must step forward in ways that would have been unthinkable back home in order to support her family. Soon Flora is the toast of glamorous Paris. Fame and fortune are hers for the taking but she knows only too well by now that rich men make empty promises.

But then a secret comes to light that will change everything...

The Lost Lover is Book Three in Karen Swan's bestselling Wild Isle Series.
Follow Karen Swan on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Nation’s Undesirables"

New from Ohio State University Press: A Nation’s Undesirables: Mixed-Race Children and Whiteness in the Post-Nazi Era by Tracey Owens Patton.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a moving blend of family history and cutting-edge scholarship, Tracey Owens Patton’s A Nation’s Undesirables synthesizes work in rhetorical postmemory studies, critical adoption studies, Afrofuturism, and more to tell the story of her mother and aunt, Lore and Lilli. Two of thousands of children born to white German women and Black American men after World War II, the twins moved to the United States at age seven, where their mother renounced her parental rights and put them into the adoption system. They did not see her again for fifty-two years.

Patton takes up the twins’ story and their reckoning with their mixed-race, Black German identity to disrupt standard narratives around World War II, Black experience in Germany, and race and adoption. Combining family interviews, historical artifacts, and autoethnographic reflection, Patton composes a new narrative of women and Black German children in the postwar era. In examining the systemic racism of Germany’s efforts to move children like Lore and Lilli out of the country—and the suppression of German women’s bodily autonomy—Patton amplifies the once unacknowledged identities of these Black German children to broaden our understanding of citizenship, racism, and sexism after World War II.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

"The Notes"

New from Crown Books for Young Readers: The Notes by Catherine Con Morse.

About the book, from the publisher:

“A moving, highly virtuosic, and heart-rending portrait of an aspiring teen pianist trying to find her way…it made me feel seen.” – Patricia Park, author of Imposter Syndrome and Other Confession of Alejandra Kim and What’s Eating Jackie Oh?

Claire Wu isn’t sure that she has what it takes to become a successful concert pianist.

It’s the fear of every student at Greenwood School for the Performing Arts: becoming a washed-out performer who couldn’t make it big. And Claire’s no Rocky Wong, the ace pianist at their boarding school.

Then Dr. Li shows up. She’s like no other teacher at Greenwood: mysterious, sophisticated, fascinating. Under Dr. Li’s tutelage, Claire works harder and dreams bigger than ever. And her crush Rocky finally seems interested. Maybe she’ll even be “Chinese enough” to join the elusive Asian Student Society.

Everything is falling into place until eerily personal notes about Claire’s bond with Dr. Li appear. Claire starts to feel the pressure. But she isn’t the only one. Everyone is feeling the strain. Especially Rocky, whose extreme perfectionism hides something more troubling.

As the Showcase tension crescendos, Claire must decide if she’s ready to sink or swim. Only then can she discover who she really is and learn if she’s ready to give her all for a shot at greatness.

The Notes is a powerful and poignant debut YA novel from award-winning writer Catherine Con Morse about dealing with academic pressures, falling in love for the first time, and finding yourself.
Visit Catherine Con Morse's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"New under the Sun"

New from the University of California Press: New under the Sun: Early Zionist Encounters with the Climate in Palestine by Netta Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:

New under the Sun explores Zionist perceptions of—and responses to—Palestine’s climate. From the rise of the Zionist movement in the late 1890s to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Netta Cohen traces the production of climactic knowledge through a rich archive that draws from medicine and botany, technology and economics, and architecture and planning. As Cohen convincingly argues, this knowledge was not only shaped by Jewish settlers’ Eurocentric views but was also indebted to colonial practices and institutions. Zionists’ claims to the land were often based on the construction of Jewish settlers as natives, even while this was complicated by their alienated responses to Palestine’s climate. New under the Sun offers a highly original environmental lens on the ways in which Zionism’s spatial ambitions and racial fantasies transformed the lives of humans and nonhumans in Palestine.
--Marshal Zeringue

"What's Eating Jackie Oh?"

New from Crown Books for Young Readers: What's Eating Jackie Oh? by Patricia Park.

About the book, from the publisher:

A Korean American teen tries to balance her dream to become a chef with the cultural expectations of her family when she enters the competitive world of a TV cooking show. A hilarious and heartfelt YA novel from the award-winning author of Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim and Re Jane.

Jackie Oh is done being your model minority.

She’s tired of perfect GPAs, PSATs, SATs, all of it. Jackie longs to become a professional chef. But her Korean American parents are Ivy League corporate workaholics who would never understand her dream. Just ask her brother, Justin, who hasn’t heard from them since he was sent to Rikers Island.

Jackie works at her grandparents’ Midtown Manhattan deli after school and practices French cooking techniques at night—when she should be studying. But the kitchen’s the only place Jackie is free from all the stresses eating at her—school, family, and the increasing violence targeting the Asian community.

Then the most unexpected thing happens: Jackie becomes a teen contestant on her favorite cooking show, Burn Off! Soon Jackie is thrown headfirst into a cutthroat TV world filled with showboating child actors, snarky judges, and gimmicky “gotcha!” challenges.

All Jackie wants to do is cook her way. But what is her way? In a novel that will make you laugh and cry, Jackie proves who she is both on and off the plate.

Patricia Park’s hilarious and stunning What’s Eating Jackie Oh? explores the delicate balance of identity, ambition, and the cultural expectations to perform.
Visit Patricia Park's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Votes for College Women"

New from NYU Press: Votes for College Women: Alumni, Students, and the Woman Suffrage Campaign by Kelly L. Marino.

About the book, from the publisher:

Explores the College Equal Suffrage League’s work to advance the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment

The woman suffrage movement is often portrayed as having been led and organized by middle-aged women and mothers in stuffy, formal settings. This dominant account grossly neglects a significant demographic within the movement―college women. Between 1870 and 1910, the proportion of college women in the United States rose from 21 to 40 percent. By 1880, there were 155 private colleges in the Northeast and the South for female students and numerous coeducational institutions in the West. The widespread extension of academic training for women helped spur a well-organized campaign for female voting rights on college campuses, where suffragists found a new audience and stage to earn respect and support.

Votes for College Women examines archives from the College Equal Suffrage League (CESL), established in 1900 as an affiliate of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, to illustrate the outsize and dynamic role that young women played in the woman suffrage movement. The book vividly illustrates how the CESL’s campaigns served a dual purpose: not only did they invigorate the Nineteenth Amendment campaign at a crucial moment, but they also brought about a profound transformation in the culture of women’s organizing and higher education. Furthermore, Kelly L. Marino argues that the CESL’s campaigns set trends in youth activism and helped lay the groundwork for later and more well-known college protests against gender inequality. Fascinating and timely, Votes for College Women shows how these brave women solidified the campus and the classroom as arenas for civic and social activism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

"In Universes"

New from Harper: In Universes: A Novel by Emet North.

About the book, from the publisher:

For fans of Emily St. John Mandel and Kelly Link, a profoundly imaginative debut novel set in numerous universes, which follows a queer physicist’s search for belonging across time and space.

Raffi works in an observational cosmology lab, searching for dark matter and trying to hide how little they understand their own research. Every chance they get, they escape to see Britt, a queer sculptor who fascinates them for reasons they also don’t—or won’t—understand. As Raffi’s carefully constructed life begins to collapse, they become increasingly fixated on the multiverse and the idea that somewhere, there might be a universe where they mean as much to Britt as she does to them…and just like that, Raffi and Britt are thirteen years old, best friends and maybe something more.

In Universes is a mind-bending tour across parallel worlds, each an answer to the question of what life would be like if events had played out just a little differently. The universes grow increasingly strange: women fracture into hordes of animals, alien-infested bears prowl apocalyptic landscapes. But across them all, Raffi—alongside their sometimes-friends, sometimes-lovers Britt, Kay, and Graham—reaches for a life that feels authentically their own.

Blending realism with science fiction, In Universes explores the thirst for genius, the fluidity of gender and identity, and the pull of the past against the desire to lead a meaningful life. Part Ted Chiang, part Carmen Maria Machado, part Everything Everywhere All At Once, In Universes insists on the transgressive power of hope even in the darkest of times.
Visit Emet North's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Freedom and Power in Classical Athens"

New from Cambridge University Press: Freedom and Power in Classical Athens by Naomi T. Campa.

About the book, from the publisher:

Athenian democracy was distinguished from other ancient constitutions by its emphasis on freedom. This was understood, Naomi T. Campa argues, as being able to do 'whatever one wished,' a widely attested phrase. Citizen agency and power constituted the core of democratic ideology and institutions. Rather than create anarchy, as ancient critics claimed, positive freedom underpinned a system that ideally protected both the individual and the collective. Even freedom, however, can be dangerous. The notion of citizen autonomy both empowered and oppressed individuals within a democratic hierarchy. These topics strike at the heart of democracies ancient and modern, from the discursive principles that structure political procedures to the citizen's navigation between the limitations of law and expression of individual will to the status of noncitizens within a state.
--Marshal Zeringue

"888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers"

New from Flatiron Books: 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers: A Novel by Abraham Chang.

About the book, from the publisher:

Love is a numbers game...

Young Wang has received plenty of wisdom from his beloved uncle: don’t take life too seriously, get out on the road when you can, and everyone gets just seven great loves in their life—so don’t blow it. This last one sticks with Young as he is an obsessive cataloger of his life: movies watched, favorite albums . . . all filtered through Chinese numerology and superstition. He finds meaning in almost everything, for which his two best friends endlessly tease him. But then, at the end of 1995, when Young is at New York University, he meets Erena. She’s brilliant, charismatic, quick-witted, and crassly funny. They fall in love and, for Young, it feels so real that he’s thrilled and terrified. As Young and Erena’s relationship blossoms, we get flashbacks to Young’s first five loves. That means Erena is “number six.” Was his uncle wrong—is she the one and only? Or are they fated for failure to make room for Young’s final, seventh love?

A love letter to Western pop culture, Eastern traditions, and being a first-generation New Yorker, Abraham Chang’s dazzling debut reminds us that luck only gets us so far when it comes to matters of the heart.
Visit Abraham Chang's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"British Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony"

New from Oxford University Press: British Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony by William D. James.

About the book, from the publisher:

Is the United Kingdom capable of grand strategy? Common wisdom suggests otherwise. Some think it implausible amid the maelstrom of domestic politics, while others believe the UK lacks the necessary autonomy, as a cog in the US-led order.

British Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony challenges these claims. William D. James contends that grand strategy is an unavoidable part of governing. Grand strategy is the highest level of national security decision-making, encompassing judgements over a state's overarching objectives and interests, as well as its security environment and resource base. Getting these decisions 'right' is vital in moments of geopolitical flux.

Employing several historical case studies between 1940-2003 and marshalling a host of primary sources, James argues that British politicians and officials have thought in grand strategic terms under American hegemony - even if they do not realise or admit to this. He also demonstrates that the role of allies in shaping British grand strategy has been overstated. Finally, James highlights the conditions under which domestic political actors can influence grand strategic decision-making. Written for practitioners as well as scholars, the book concludes with several policy recommendations at this inflection point in British history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 15, 2024

"Miss Morgan's Book Brigade"

New from Atria Books: Miss Morgan's Book Brigade: A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles.

About the book, from the publisher:

The New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the “captivating, richly drawn” (Woman’s World) The Paris Library returns with a brilliant new novel based on the true story of Jessie Carson—the American librarian who changed the literary landscape of France.

1918: As the Great War rages, Jessie Carson takes a leave of absence from the New York Public Library to work for the American Committee for Devastated France. Founded by millionaire Anne Morgan, this group of international women help rebuild destroyed French communities just miles from the front. Upon arrival, Jessie strives to establish something that the French have never seen—children’s libraries. She turns ambulances into bookmobiles and trains the first French female librarians. Then she disappears.

1987: When NYPL librarian and aspiring writer Wendy Peterson stumbles across a passing reference to Jessie Carson in the archives, she becomes consumed with learning her fate. In her obsessive research, she discovers that she and the elusive librarian have more in common than their work at New York’s famed library, but she has no idea their paths will converge in surprising ways across time.

Based on the extraordinary little-known history of the women who received the Croix de Guerre medal for courage under fire, Miss Morgan’s Book Brigade is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, the power of literature, and ultimately the courage it takes to make a change.
Visit Janet Skeslien Charles's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Cracks in the Outfield Wall"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Cracks in the Outfield Wall: The History of Baseball Integration in the Carolinas by Chris Holaday.

About the book, from the publisher:

The best-known story of integration in baseball is Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color line in 1947 after coming up through the minor leagues the previous year. His story, however, differs from those of the many players who integrated the game in the Jim Crow South at all professional levels. Chris Holaday offers readers the first book-length history of baseball's integration in the Carolinas, showing its slow and unsteady progress, narrating the experience of players in a range of distinct communities, detailing the influence of baseball executives at the local and major league levels, and revealing that the changing structure of the professional baseball system allowed the major leagues to control integration at the state level. Holaday illuminates many smaller stories along the way, including desegregation in Little League and American Legion baseball, the first Black players to play in the tiny foothills town of Granite Falls, North Carolina, and the pipeline of Afro-Cuban players from Havana to the Carolina leagues.

By showing how race and the national pastime intersected at the local level, Holaday offers readers new context to understand the long struggle of equality in the game.
Visit Chris Holaday's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Colton Gentry's Third Act"

New from Grand Central Publishing: Colton Gentry's Third Act: A Novel by Jeff Zentner.

About the book, from the publisher:

This "story of love, healing, and second chances ” (Emily Henry) from an award-winning author follows a down on his luck country musician who, in the throes of grief after a shocking loss, moves back home and rekindles a relationship with his high school sweetheart.

Colton Gentry is riding high. His first hit in nearly a decade has caught fire, he’s opening for country megastar Brant Lucas, and he’s married to one of the hottest acts in the country. But he’s hurting. Only a few weeks earlier, his best friend, Duane, was murdered onstage by a mass shooter at a country music festival. One night, with his trauma festering and Jim Beam flowing through his veins, Colton stands before a sold-out arena crowd of country music fans and offers his unfiltered opinion on guns. It goes over poorly.

Immediately, his career and marriage implode. Left with few choices or funds, he retreats to his rural Kentucky hometown. He’s resigned himself to has-been-dom, until a chance encounter at his town’s new farm-to-table restaurant gives him a second shot at life: a job working in the kitchen with Luann, his first love, who has undergone her own reinvention. Told through perspectives alternating between his senior year of high school, his time coming up with Duane as hungry musicians in Nashville, and the present, COLTON GENTRY’S THIRD ACT is a story of coming home, undoing past heartbreaks, and navigating grief, and is a reminder that there are next acts in life, no matter how unlikely they may seem.
Visit Jeff Zentner's website.

Writers Read: Jeff Zentner (March 2016).

My Book, The Movie: The Serpent King.

The Page 69 Test: The Serpent King.

The Page 69 Test: Goodbye Days.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Silk: A World History"

New from William Morrow: Silk: A World History by Aarathi Prasad.

About the book, from the publisher:

In a gorgeous history that spans continents and millennia, Aarathi Prasad weaves together the complex story of the queen of fabrics. Through the scientists who have studied silk, and the biology of the animals from which it has been drawn, Prasad explores the global, natural, and cultural history (and future) of a unique material that has fascinated the world for thousands of years.

Silk—prized for its lightness, luminosity, and beauty—is also one of the strongest biological materials ever known. More than a century ago, it was used to make the first bulletproof vest, and yet science has barely even begun to tap its potential. As the technologies it has inspired—from sutures to pharmaceuticals, replacement body parts to holograms—continue to be developed in laboratories around the world, they are now also beginning to offer a desperately needed, sustainable alternative to the plastics choking our planet.

Aarathi Prasad’s Silk is a cultural and biological history from the origins and ancient routes of silk to the biologists who learned the secrets of silk-producing animals, manipulating the habitats and physiologies of moths, spiders, and mollusks. Because there is more than one silk, there is more than one story of silk. More than one road, more than one people who discovered it, and wove its threads.

From the moths of China, Indonesia, and India to the spiders of South America and Madagascar and the silk-producing mollusks of the Mediterranean, Silk is a book rich in the passionate connections made by people of science to the diversity of the animal world. It is an intoxicating read, a mix of biography and science, that not only brings to life the vast, winding history of silk, but also looks to its future as a resource with incredible, untapped potential.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 14, 2024

"Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies"

New from Minotaur Books: Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies: A Novel (The Vacation Mysteries, Volume 1) by Catherine Mack.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ten days, eight suspects, six cities, five authors, three bodies . . . one trip to die for.

All that bestselling author Eleanor Dash wants is to get through her book tour in Italy and kill off her main character, Connor Smith, in the next in her Vacation Mysteries series—is that too much to ask?

Clearly, because when an attempt is made on the real Connor’s life—the handsome but infuriating con man she got mixed up with ten years ago and now can't get out of her life—Eleanor’s enlisted to help solve the case.

Contending with literary competitors, rabid fans, a stalker—and even her ex, Oliver, who turns up unexpectedly—theories are bandied about, and rivalries, rifts, and broken hearts are revealed. But who’s really trying to get away with murder?

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies is the irresistible and hilarious series debut from Catherine Mack, introducing bestselling fictional author Eleanor Dash on her Italian book tour that turns into a real-life murder mystery, as her life starts to imitate the world in her books.
Visit Catherine McKenzie's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Demon of Unrest"

New from Crown: The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War by Erik Larson.

About the book, from the publisher:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Splendid and the Vile brings to life the pivotal five months between the election of Abraham Lincoln and the start of the Civil War—a simmering crisis that finally tore a deeply divided nation in two.

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the fluky victor in a tight race for president. The country was bitterly at odds; Southern extremists were moving ever closer to destroying the Union, with one state after another seceding and Lincoln powerless to stop them. Slavery fueled the conflict, but somehow the passions of North and South came to focus on a lonely federal fortress in Charleston Harbor: Fort Sumter.

Master storyteller Erik Larson offers a gripping account of the chaotic months between Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s shelling of Sumter—a period marked by tragic errors and miscommunications, enflamed egos and craven ambitions, personal tragedies and betrayals. Lincoln himself wrote that the trials of these five months were “so great that, could I have anticipated them, I would not have believed it possible to survive them.”

At the heart of this suspense-filled narrative are Major Robert Anderson, Sumter’s commander and a former slave owner sympathetic to the South but loyal to the Union; Edmund Ruffin, a vain and bloodthirsty radical who stirs secessionist ardor at every opportunity; and Mary Boykin Chesnut, wife of a prominent planter, conflicted over both marriage and slavery and seeing parallels between them. In the middle of it all is the overwhelmed Lincoln, battling with his duplicitous secretary of state, William Seward, as he tries desperately to avert a war that he fears is inevitable—one that will eventually kill 750,000 Americans.

Drawing on diaries, secret communiques, slave ledgers, and plantation records, Larson gives us a political horror story that captures the forces that led America to the brink—a dark reminder that we often don’t see a cataclysm coming until it’s too late.
Visit Erik Larson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Lilies"

New from HarperTeen: The Lilies by Quinn Diacon-Furtado.

About the book, from the publisher:

One of Us Is Lying meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder in this don’t-dare-to-look-away dark academia thriller that explores how secrets can rot an institution—and the people who uphold it—from the inside out.

Everyone wants to be a Lily.

At Archwell Academy, it’s the ticket to a successful future. But like every secret society, there is something much darker beneath the surface … sometimes girls disappear.

When four Archwell students find themselves trapped in a time loop, they must relive their worst memories, untangling the Lilies’ moldering roots and unraveling the secrets at the core of their school … before they destroy their futures forever.
Visit Quinn Diacon-Furtado's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Only Way Out"

New from Duke University Press: The Only Way Out: The Racial and Sexual Performance of Escape by Katherine Brewer Ball.

About the book, from the publisher:

In The Only Way Out, Katherine Brewer Ball explores the American fascination with the escape story. Brewer Ball argues that escape is a key site for exploring American conceptions of freedom and constraint. Stories of escape are never told just once but become mythic in their episodic iterations, revealing the fantasies and desires of society, the storyteller, and the listener. While white escape narratives have typically been laden with Enlightenment fantasies of redemption where freedom is available to any individual willing to seize it, Brewer Ball explores how Black and queer escape offer forms of radical possibility. Drawing on Black studies, queer theory, and performance studies, she examines a range of works, from nineteenth-century American literature to contemporary queer of color art and writing by contemporary American artists including Wilmer Wilson IV, Tourmaline, Tony Kushner, Junot Díaz, Glenn Ligon, Toshi Reagon, and Sharon Hayes. Throughout, escape emerges as a story not of individuality but of collectivity and entanglement.
Visit Katie Brewer Ball's website.

--Marshal Zeringue