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"Excellent...stunning."—Ta-Nehisi Coates The devastating story of how fugitive slaves drove the nation to Civil War A New York Times Notable Book Selection * Winner of the Mark Lynton History Prize* Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award * A New York Times Critics' Best Book For decades after its founding, America was really two nations--one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the "united" states was actually a lie. Fugitive slaves exposed the contradiction between the myth that slavery was a benign institution and the reality that a nation based on the principle of human equality was in fact a prison-house in which millions of Americans had no rights at all. By awakening northerners to the true nature of slavery, and by enraging southerners who demanded the return of their human "property," fugitive slaves forced the nation to confront the truth about itself. By 1850, with America on the verge of collapse, Congress reached what it hoped was a solution-- the notorious Compromise of 1850, which required that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Like so many political compromises before and since, it was a deal by which white Americans tried to advance their interests at the expense of black Americans. Yet the Fugitive Slave Act, intended to preserve the Union, in fact set the nation on the path to civil war. It divided not only the American nation, but also the hearts and minds of Americans who struggled with the timeless problem of when to submit to an unjust law and when to resist. The fugitive slave story illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.
London, 1922. It’s a cold November morning, the station is windswept and rural, the sky is threatening snow, and the train is late. Vivien Ripple, 20 years old and an ungainly five foot eleven, waits on the platform at Dilberne Halt. She is wealthy and well-bred—only daughter to the founder of Ripple & Co, the nation’s top publisher—but plain, painfully awkward, and, perhaps worst of all, intelligent. Nicknamed “the giantess,” Vivvie is, in the estimation of most, already a spinster. But she has a plan. That very morning, Vivvie will ride to the city with the express purpose of changing her life forever. Enter Sherwyn Sexton: charismatic, handsome—if, to his dismay, rather short. He’s an aspiring novelist and editor at Ripple & Co whose greatest love is the (similarly handsome, but taller) protagonist of his thriller series. He also has a penchant for pretty young women—single and otherwise. Sherwyn is shocked when his boss’s hulking daughter, dressed in a tweed jacket and moth-eaten scarf, strides into his office and asks for his hand in marriage. But his finances are running thin to support his regular dinners on the town, and Vivien’s promise to house him in comfort while he writes is simply too good to refuse. What neither of them know is that she is pregnant by another man, and will die in childbirth in just a few months... With one eye on the present and one on the past, Fay Weldon offers Vivien’s fate, along with that of London between World Wars I and II: a city fizzing with change, full of flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked soldiers, and aristocrats clinging to history. Inventive, warm, playful, and full of Weldon’s trademark ironic edge, Before the War is a spellbinding novel from one of the greatest writers of our time.
There's conflict in the kitchen, as the forks, spoons, and knives argue over who's the greatest of utensils. The steel knife is looking for action, the grapefruit spoon longs for another function, and the sterling fork keeps touting its lofty lineage. Beneath the clash of cutlery lies a sensitive allegory about identity.
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Robert Duncan's Groundwork, the American poet's unparalleled final masterpiece, is now available in a single volume. I am speaking now of the Dream in which America sleeps, the New World, moaning, floundering, in three hundred years of invasions, our own history out of Europe and enslaved Africa.Robert Duncan, from Groundwork Robert Duncan has been widely venerated as one of America's most essential poets: Allen Ginsberg described his poetry as "rapturous wonderings of inspiration," Gwendolyn Brooks called it "a subtle spice," and Susan Howe pointed to Duncan as "my precursor father," Lawrence Ferlinghetti said he "had the finest ear this side of Dante," and Robert Creeley called him "the magister, the singular Master of the Dance." Now Duncan's magnum opus, Groundwork, is available in one groundbreaking edition. The first volume, Groundwork I: Before the War, was published in 1984, after a fifteen-year publishing silence, and received immediate acclaim: it was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and won the first National Poetry Award for Duncan's "lifetime devotion to the art of poetry and his grand achievement...." The second volume, Groundwork II: In the Dark, was published in February 1988, the month of Duncan's death. The internationally renowned poet Michael Palmer has written a marvelous introduction for this new edition, where "the singlemindedness of [Duncan's] life's work shows itself in the confident energy of every line" (Voice Literary Supplement).
The mesmerizing, darkly original novel that heralded the arrival of now New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane, the master of the new noir—and introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his smart and tough private investigators weaned on the blue-collar streets of Dorchester. A cabal of powerful Boston politicians is willing to pay Kenzie and Gennaro big money for a seemingly small job: to find a missing cleaning woman who stole some secret documents. As Kenzie and Gennaro learn, however, this crime is no ordinary theft. It's about justice, about right and wrong. But in Boston, finding the truth isn’t just a dirty business . . . it’s deadly.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Through this text Aleckson attempts to suggest that African Americans are neither objects of pity for the north, nor tools to be used in labor by southern slaveholders, but something more. He places the black community in a hopeful and triumphant light, informing the reader that "you may disfranchise the Negro, you may oppress him, you may deport him, but unless you destroy the disposition to laugh in his nature you can do him no permanent injury. All unconscious to himself, perhaps. It is not solely the meaningless expression of 'vacant mind, ' nor is it simply a ray-It is the beaming light of hope-of faith. God has blessed him thus. He sees light where others see only the blackness of night" (p. 51). African Americans, Aleckson suggests, have been uniquely blessed by God to be able to persevere and overcome in the face of trials and adversity that implicitly would have destroyed others. Aleckson demonstrates in his narrative the spirit he points to. While undoubtedly exposed to great evil as a young slave and in his military service during the Civil War, Aleckson overcomes and perseveres, finding love and happiness in life despite his participation in a trying time in American history. The conclusion of the narrative reflects this optimistic spirit. Aleckson closes with a passionate post-racial appeal for all people to move past slavery and for both whites and African Americans to reconcile their differences and unite as a single people. His only fears, he explains, "are for the American nation, for, I feel as an American, and cannot feel otherwise" (p. 171). Hyrum Palmer
Originally written for a Christmas concert given by internationally-renowned children's choir Shallaway, Bernice Morgan's Seasons Before the War is a delightful, unsentimental remembrance of growing up in St. John's, Newfoundland just before the city, and the world, changed irrevocably with the advent of WWII. This slightly fictionalized telling explores the delights of every day and of each season: how Bernice and her siblings played and passed their time--watching the fire trucks put out fires at the dump, going for messages at the local shops, listening to stories by the kitchen stove--and the bigger moments of starting school, and anticipating Christmas. Charged with the bright wonder of a child's view, the book nevertheless contains the shadow of change; although mentioned only in the book's title, war and its implications for childhood hang quietly over all. Painted illustrations, by acclaimed UK-based illustrator Brita Granström, beautifully capture the sweet nostalgia of Morgan's words and the joys of childhood. Soft and playful, yet detailed and accurate, the illustrations add immeasurably to the book, making it as much an art book as a storybook. With beautiful paper, thoughtful design, and exceptional production values, this is a book to be shared between generations, and to be treasured.
These translated memoirs of Robert Brassillach's reveal the varied social life of the French capital during the inter-war years, featuring many well-known and lesser known personalities, including writers. He also covers travels outside France, the Nuremburg rally and the Spanish Civil War.
The myth of the peace-loving "noble savage" is persistent and pernicious. Indeed, for the last fifty years, most popular and scholarly works have agreed that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless, unimportant, and, like smallpox, a disease of civilized societies alone. Prehistoric warfare, according to this view, was little more than a ritualized game, where casualties were limited and the effects of aggression relatively mild. Lawrence Keeley's groundbreaking War Before Civilization offers a devastating rebuttal to such comfortable myths and debunks the notion that warfare was introduced to primitive societies through contact with civilization (an idea he denounces as "the pacification of the past"). Building on much fascinating archeological and historical research and offering an astute comparison of warfare in civilized and prehistoric societies, from modern European states to the Plains Indians of North America, War Before Civilization convincingly demonstrates that prehistoric warfare was in fact more deadly, more frequent, and more ruthless than modern war. To support this point, Keeley provides a wide-ranging look at warfare and brutality in the prehistoric world. He reveals, for instance, that prehistorical tactics favoring raids and ambushes, as opposed to formal battles, often yielded a high death-rate; that adult males falling into the hands of their enemies were almost universally killed; and that surprise raids seldom spared even women and children. Keeley cites evidence of ancient massacres in many areas of the world, including the discovery in South Dakota of a prehistoric mass grave containing the remains of over 500 scalped and mutilated men, women, and children (a slaughter that took place a century and a half before the arrival of Columbus). In addition, Keeley surveys the prevalence of looting, destruction, and trophy-taking in all kinds of warfare and again finds little moral distinction between ancient warriors and civilized armies. Finally, and perhaps most controversially, he examines the evidence of cannibalism among some preliterate peoples. Keeley is a seasoned writer and his book is packed with vivid, eye-opening details (for instance, that the homicide rate of prehistoric Illinois villagers may have exceeded that of the modern United States by some 70 times). But he also goes beyond grisly facts to address the larger moral and philosophical issues raised by his work. What are the causes of war? Are human beings inherently violent? How can we ensure peace in our own time? Challenging some of our most dearly held beliefs, Keeley's conclusions are bound to stir controversy.

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