The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors - Dan Jones

Staff Pick

Dan Jones has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most captivating and lively historians, proving that well-researched historical narratives need not be dry and impenetrable. Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors (Viking, $30) is his best work to date. It has the advantage of dealing with a fascinating and often ill-used subject, but Jones elevates the Templars above conspiracy theory histories to uncover the fascinating history within, from their military campaigns, Outremer Crusader states, their financial acumen and extensive properties, to the knights’ eventual downfall. This volume is possibly the most comprehensive modern history of the Templars, told by an incredibly talented chronicler and interpreter of facts and sources. It is a must-have for any history bookshelf.

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors By Dan Jones Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525428305
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Viking - September 19th, 2017

Gaslight - Joachim Kalka

Staff Pick
The 19th century might have seemed far away in the late-20th century, but now that we’re in the 21st century, how does it feel? When you read books like Joachim Kalka’s Gaslight, the answer is “surprisingly close”, and history feels significantly larger after reading it. It’s a book made from a melange of styles—literary criticism, military history, true crime—but they're all of a piece, because they’re all recognizably facets of the same world. We know how the modern world, as it exists now, can find its way into literature, so it's fun and enlightening to see how canonical artists like Marcel Proust and Emile Zola, Karl Kraus and Alban Berg dealt with their own contemporary bugaboos, from Jack the Ripper to the Dreyfus Affair, from anarchists to submarines.
Gaslight: Lantern Slides from the Nineteenth Century By Joachim Kalka, Isabel Fargo Cole (Translated by) Cover Image
By Joachim Kalka, Isabel Fargo Cole (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681371184
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: New York Review Books - June 6th, 2017

Age of Anger: A History of the Present - Pankaj Mishra

Staff Pick

To explain Trump, Brexit, Timothy McVeigh, ISIS, and rising nationalist parties worldwide, Mishra traces globalization and its discontents back to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. His masterly synthesis of ideologies, movements, and political philosophies illustrates that modernity is a messy and uneven process. Even in the West, its transformation of societies has been disruptive and incomplete; as it’s reached other parts of the world, the jolt has been greater and all the more violent for the delay. While globalization has benefitted some, it’s left out many, and disappointed more. The continuous resentment it’s fueled hits especially hard where people have not only seen the promise of the new pass them by, but have lost the old traditions and faiths that kept life stable. With nothing to fall back on, many invent a glorious, mythic past, and commit themselves to regaining it—even as they use modern means and violence to do so. Mishra discusses Rousseau, Tocqueville, Bakunin, the German Romantics, Russian revolutionaries, and Italian Futurists in depth, clarifying the connections among them, and between their times and ours. His always telling and frequently shocking quotations not only elucidate the past but often sound like what we’re hearing today. The “age of anger” that started with modernity’s glittering promise isn’t over yet.

Age of Anger: A History of the Present By Pankaj Mishra Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374274788
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 7th, 2017