On August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse will pass over the continental US. Author David Baron chronicles a similar rare eclipse from 1878, whose path crossed the untamed American West. The result is a wonderful blend of history, science, biography and western narrative in this thrilling race to capture the corona and study the sun. Baron follows scientists, astronomers and inventors as they attempt to finally put America on the intellectual map alongside Europe.
Jared Yates Sexton is a journalist who during the 2016 Presidential campaign witnessed the passion at the "Feel the Bern" rallies, the demonstrations outside of the RNC and DNC conventions, the debates, and the Trump rallies where he gained national attention when he started live-tweeting, describing raw anger and vitriol like he had never seen before. Along with the exposure came daily death threats and intimidation. This is a fascinating political read about a campaign that crossed many ethical lines and hit new political lows, with the results flabbergasting almost all the political watchers and commentators.
This informative tome retells American history, showing how paradoxical attitudes towards the white underclass have held firm over nearly 400 years. On the one hand, poor whites have long been seen as an undesirable group condemned by heredity to feeblemindedness, sloth, and animalistic behavior. From the colonial period through the early 20th century elites used language borrowed from animal husbandry to describe poor whites as an inferior breed. This abhorrent classist bias culminated the emerging “science” of eugenics and the Supreme Court infamously sanctioning forcible sterilization in Buck vs. Bell (1927), a case that was brought by a poor white maid who resisted the State of Virginia’s efforts to sterilize her. However in contradiction with the denigration and dehumanization of poor whites, they also have long been idealized, from Jefferson’s belief in the innate nobility of America’s yeoman farmers through the examples of Presidents like Jackson, Lincoln, and most recently Bill Clinton, who rose from humble origins in rural backwaters. Isenberg also examines changing depictions of poor whites in the popular culture and media over the years, and when eventually Sarah Palin and Honey Boo Boo find their way into this fascinating book, you won’t be surprised, given the historical continuities Isenberg so compellingly describes.