Battle Cry of Freedom by James M.McPherson

Staff Pick

The Civil War is a live issue in contemporary American life and politics, with heated public disputes over why it occurred, how it was fought, and what it means for us now.  There is no better way to sort through those questions than to read Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson's judicious, comprehensive, and lucid history shows how the war grew out of American expansion into the west, the war with Mexico, political polarization, cultural differences, and above all the inability to resolve the question of slavery.  Throughout he shows not only the politicians and generals, but lives of the people--rich and poor, north and south, free and slave--who were swept into and fought the most terrible war in American history.  Beautifully composed, this is a great book that will stay with you long after you've put it down.

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States) By James M. McPherson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780195168952
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - December 11th, 2003

Palo Alto by Malcolm Harris

Staff Pick

Palo Alto, the town, is the perfect synecdoche for understanding America. Built at the furthest end of the contiguous American empire as a suburb to the launching point of imperial adventures that would define this country’s place in the 20th century, Palo Alto was the testing ground for countless technologies (including a revolutionizing horse breeding facility). Palo Alto, the book, starts punching on its first page and does not let up for the remaining 635--it's to a town what The Power Broker was to Moses: definitive and gripping!

Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World By Malcolm Harris Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316592017
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - March 19th, 2024

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

Staff Pick


A memoir, an investigation, and a meditation on storytelling, art, chance, and death--this is a book that defies categorization. On a hot afternoon in 1949 15 elite U.S. Forest Service Smokejumpers parachuted into Mann Gulch in Montana's Helena National Forest to fight what they believed to be a manageable fire. Within two hours, 12 of them (along with another firefighter) were dead or fatally burnt. Maclean saw the immediate aftermath and was so haunted by the experience that he returned 28 years later to write about it, telling the story if only to explain to himself how it happened. Young Men and Fire is an elegy for those firefighters and others who die young and unexpectedly, a simple, limpid, and beautifully written tragedy, a quiet classic of American letters.




Young Men and Fire: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition By Norman Maclean, Timothy Egan (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Norman Maclean, Timothy Egan (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780226450353
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: University of Chicago Press - May 1st, 2017