With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April, a host of this season’s lead titles grapple with America’s long history of injustice in the South.
The Beekeeper: Saving the Stolen Women of Iraq
Dunya Mikhail, trans. by Max Weiss. New Directions, Mar. 27
Iraqi poet and journalist Mikhail tells the story of an Iraqi beekeeper who helped a number of Yazidi women escape from certain capture by ISIS in northern Iraq.
Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
Joshua B. Freeman. Norton, Feb. 27
Freeman’s global history looks at the role of factories in society from all angles, with insights from critics and champions alike, and even explores the depiction of factories in art.
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found
Gilbert King. Riverhead, Apr. 24
The author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Devil in the Grove returns with another suspenseful historical narrative from the Jim Crow era. This one tells the story of the rape of the wife of a citrus baron, with numerous twists in the resulting decades-long investigation.
Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America
Kathleen Belew. Harvard Univ., Apr. 13
Hailed as “a tour de force” by Junot Díaz, this book traces the current iteration of the white power movement to a group of veterans who felt betrayed by the outcome of the Vietnam War.
Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools
Rachel Devlin. Basic, May 15
The history of desegregation in American schools is told through the stories of the brave young women who led the way.
God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State
Lawrence Wright. Knopf, Mar. 6
Pulitzer Prize–winner Wright brings diligence to this ambitious undertaking, a history of the entire state of Texas, which is also his home state.
Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
Alfredo Corchado. Bloomsbury, June 19
A Mexican-American journalist uses his own experiences moving to Philadelphia in 1987 and the Mexicans he met there to shed light on the history of Mexican immigration in the U.S.
The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools
Vanessa Siddle Walker. New Press, July 3
This book draws on exclusive access to the archive of late Georgia state Senator Horace Tate to uncover a network of educators who fought tirelessly for the education of black children before desegregation.
Nobody’s Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood
J.E. Smyth. Oxford Univ., Apr. 2
Film historian Smyth reveals the prominence of women in Hollywood during the studio era of the 1930s and ’40s. Given the recent coverage of Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein exposé, this book will land as either timely or deeply ironic.
The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
Elaine Weiss. Viking, Mar. 6
Weiss’s investigation of the final push to ratify the 19th Amendment in Tennessee draws parallels between the political landscape of the 1920s and today.
The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes by Nina Barrett (July 10, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-57284-240-3) relies solely on primary sources to tell the story of the 1924 kidnapping and murder of Robert Franks by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York by Stacy Horn (May 15, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-576-8) the little known history of Blackwell’s Island, the two mile-long island in the East River now known as Roosevelt Island, acquired by the city of New York in 1828 and used to corral the city’s insane, sick, and criminal.
The Unknowns by Patrick O’Donnell (May 22, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2833-1). Military historian O’Donnell retells the story of the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in 1921 through the story of burial of the first Unknown Soldier and the eight veterans who served as body bearers.
The Washington War: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Politics of Power That Won World War II by James Lacey (May 8, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-345-54758-3). Military historian Lacey looks at the forceful personalities who counseled F.D.R. during WWII and the machinations and power plays that led the U.S. to victory.
Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America’s Schools by Rachel Devlin (May 15, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-9733-1) shines new light on the civil rights movement through the story of the young black women at the forefront of the grassroots effort to desegregate public schools.
The Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by Jason Sokol (Mar. 20, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-465-05591-3) examines the range of responses in America and around the world to the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in the weeks after his assassination and the impact of his murder on the pursuit of racial equality.
Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration by Alfredo Corchado (June 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-63286-554-0) illuminates the lives of Mexican immigrants in America in the late 1980s using the author’s own experiences moving to Philadelphia in 1987 along with the story of three men he befriended. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed: A Story of Hoops and Handguns on Chicago’s West Side by Rus Bradburd (May 1, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-61373-931-0) draws attention to numerous issues—including gun violence and inadaquate health care—afflicting residents of Chicago’s West Side through the story of high school basketball coach Shaun Harrington, who was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting in 2015.
Torn from the World: A Guerrilla’s Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico by John Gibler (July 15, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-87286-752-9) provides a glimpse into the horrors of state violence in Mexico by relating the story of a guerrilla fighter who was forcibly disappeared and tortured by the Mexican Army, but escaped his planned execution.
Killing King: Racial Terrorists, James Earl Ray, and the Plot to Assassinate Martin Luther King by Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock (Apr. 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-61902-919-4). Using recently uncovered FBI files, two investigative reporters make the case that the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was plotted by a network of racial terrorists who were linked to hundreds of other racist acts of violence.
Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition by Jeff Biggers (July 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-64009-047-7). Biggers posits that resistance is a crucial part of American identity and offers a timely history of resistance movements from the Revolution onward.
The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles by Gary Krist (May 15, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-451-49638-6) argues that the rapid transformation of southern California from farmland to modern Los Angeles resulted from the vision of self-taught engineer William Mulholland, movie maker D.W. Griffith, and Aimee Semple McPherson, a young evangelist, faith healer, and radio preacher.
Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage by Brian Castner (Mar. 13, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54162-6) portrays the 1789 journey of explorer Alexander Mackenzie, who traveled 1,125 miles by canoe in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Castner combines historical narrative with his own firsthand experience retracing the route in 2016.
Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe by Rebecca Erbelding (Apr. 10, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-54251-7). The archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., relates F.D.R.’s last-ditch attempt in 1944 to save Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, focusing on the role of a young Treasury lawyer, John Pehle, who orchestrated the effort.
When the Bullet Hits Bone by Lisa Pulitzer (June 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-41545-3). In what’s pegged as “the last great mafia story,” former New York Times correspondent Pulitzer looks at the Colombo crime family and its hold on local and regional government in and around New York in the late 1970s. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945–1975 by Max Hastings (May 22, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-06-240566-1). The author of numerous bestsellers on WWII moves to the Vietnam War, combining stories of individuals on both sides with analysis of military strategy. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America by Kathleen Belew (Apr. 13, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-28607-8) argues the origins of the most recent strain of white supremacy in the United States dates back to and the 1970s when a group of veterans parlayed their sense of betrayal in the Vietnam War into a war against their own country.
Left Bank: Art, Passion, and the Rebirth of Paris, 1940–1950 by Agnes Poirier (Feb. 13, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-62779-024-6) tells of the social entanglements of leading intellectuals and artists in the post-WWII period, with appearances by Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Pablo Picasso, and others.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey (Apr. 17, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-544-80088-5) looks at the rise of Christianity, showing how its early radical followers ravaged vast swathes of classical culture, sending the West into an era of dogma and intellectual decline.
God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright (Mar. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52010-8). The New Yorkerwriter and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Looming Tower explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas, his home state, and shows how the Texas economic model of low taxes and minimal regulation has produced extraordinary growth but also striking income disparities.
Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin de Siècle Paris by Caroline Weber (Apr. 24, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-307-96178-5) takes readers to turn-of-the-20th-century Paris to tell the stories of the three women who inspired the character of the Duchesse de Guermantes in Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past.
The Island That Disappeared: The Lost History of the Mayflower’s Sister Ship and Its Rival Puritan Colony by Tom Feiling (Mar. 20, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-61219-708-1) delivers the story of the passengers aboard the Seaflower, the Mayflower’s sister ship, which in 1630 founded a Puritan colony on a Caribbean island called Providence.
The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban-American Underworld by T.J. English (Mar. 20, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-256896-0) provides a multigenerational history of the Cuban mob in the U.S., from the author of Havana Nocturne.
West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express by Jim DeFelice (May 1, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-249676-8). The coauthor of American Sniper illuminates the story of the Pony Express, a short-lived mail delivery service connecting the Eastern U.S. with its Western territories on the eve of the Civil War.
The Beekeeper: Saving the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail, trans. by Max Weiss (Mar. 27, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2612-7). Poet/journalist Mikhail tells the story of the Yazidi women of northern Iraq who managed to escape the clutches of ISIS with help from a beekeeper.
Denmark Vesey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy by Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts (Apr. 3, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-365-3). The authors look at the different ways slavery is portrayed in Charleston, S.C., and survey the city’s racial history, from its role as a major hub of the slave trade to the 2015 murder of nine people at Emanuel AME Church.
Enemies in Love: A German POW, a Black Nurse, and an Unlikely Romance by Alexis Clark (May 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-186-4) features the romance between Elinor Powell, an African-American nurse in the U.S. military during WWII, and Frederick Albert, a soldier in Hitler’s army captured by the Allies and shipped to a prisoner-of-war camp in the Arizona desert.
The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools by Vanessa Siddle Walker (July 3, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-105-5) uncovers the strategies behind the fight to integrate schools in the South in the leadup to and following Brown v. Board of Education, using recently uncovered archival material belonging to one of the central players, Horace Tate—a former teacher, principal, and Georgia state senator.
Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman (Feb. 27, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24631-5) surveys the rise of factories around the world and their effect on society.
Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles by Fran Leadon (Apr. 17, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-393-24010-8) tells the history of Manhattan through one of its most celebrated streets, dating back to the 17th century when the land was just a muddy cow path in a backwater Dutch settlement.
No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria by Rania Abouzeid (Mar. 13, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-60949-3). The debut book from a George Polk Award–winning journalist is a deeply reported account of the Syrian War told from the perspective of four young people seeking safety.
To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice by Michael K. Honey (Apr. 3, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-393-65126-3) focuses on Martin Luther King’s profound commitment to the poor and working class, and his call for nonviolent resistance to all forms of oppression, including economic injustice.
Roadmap to Hell: Sex, Drugs & Guns on the Mafia Coast by Barbie Latza Nadeau (Mar. 13, hardcover, $22.99, ISBN 978-1-78607-255-9) uncovers a web of criminal activity in Italy, involving thousands of refugees and migrants who are lured into the underworld and forced to become sex slaves, drug mules, or weapon smugglers.
The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Feb. 1, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-19-508957-8) provides a definitive look at the professional and private life of Alain Locke (1885–1954), known as the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance.
Nobody’s Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood by J.E. Smyth (Apr. 2, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-19-084082-2) surveys a collective of women during the studio era between 1930 and 1950, when more than 40% of film industry employees were women.
Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America by Craig Childs (May 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-307-90865-0) examines the arrival of the First People in North America 20,000 years ago, using artifacts that provide clues about their existence.
Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution by Priya Satia (Apr. 10, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-7352-2186-4) places Britain’s prosperous gun trade at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and the nation’s imperial expansion.
Above and Beyond: John F. Kennedy and America’s Most Dangerous Cold War Spy Mission by Casey Sherman (May 1, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-61039-804-6) relates the Cuban Missile Crisis through the story of two U-2 pilots, Rudy Anderson and Charles Maultsby, both of whose planes went missing in hostile territory during the 13-day stretch of the crisis.
The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality by Anna-Lisa Cox (June 12, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-61039-810-7) reveals the overlooked history of the thousands of black pioneers who escaped slavery and settled on the frontier.
Great American Outpost: Fortune, Freedom, and Madness in the North Dakota Oilfield by Maya Rao (Apr. 24, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-61039-646-2) describes the recent oil boom in North Dakota as a 21st-century gold rush and follows the people who traveled to the Bakken oil field with the hope of getting rich quick.
The Killing Season: The Autumn of 1914, Ypres, and the Afternoon That Cost Germany a War by Robert Cowley (July 31, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-4000-6852-4). Thirty years in the making, this book positions the month-long First Battle of Ypres as a turning point in WWI and in the history of warfare, using the accounts of both soldiers and commanders.
Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found by Gilbert King (Apr. 24, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-399-18338-6) The author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Devil in the Grove offers a true-crime account from the Jim Crow South about the rape of the wife of a wealthy citrus baron and the corrupt investigation that followed.
Rowman & Littlefield
The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee by John Reeves (June 1, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5381-1039-3) tells the story of the legal case made against Confederate general Robert E. Lee, who was indicted for treason by a grand jury in Norfolk, Va., on June of 1865.
The Longest Line on the Map: The United States and the Quest to Link the Americas by Eric Rutkow (July 10, hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-1-5011-0390-2) looks at the funding, foreign policy, and logistics involved in the creation of the Pan-American Highway, the world’s longest road, running the length of the Western Hemisphere from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in South America.
Simon & Schuster
Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes (May 29, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-5011-0535-7). The author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb culls through five centuries of innovation to highlight the successes and failures that led to major breakthroughs in energy production; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor.
Those Turbulent Sons of Freedom: Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys and the American Revolution by Christopher S. Wren (May 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4165-9955-5) debunks the myth of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, arguing they were ruffians who joined the rush for cheap land on the northern frontier of the colonies in the years before the American Revolution.
The Race to Save the Romanovs: The Truth Behind the Secret Plans to Rescue the Russian Imperial Family by Helen Rappaport (June 26, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-15121-6). On the 100th anniversary of the murder of the Russian Imperial family, Rappaport uncovers the many international plots to save them and who was responsible for the failures.
Univ. of California
The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness by Dale Peterson (Apr. 17, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-520-29771-5). The author of Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man investigates the mysterious death of Ruth Davis, a young American volunteer at Dr. Jane Goodall’s famous chimpanzee research camp in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania.
Univ. of Chicago
This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent by Daegan Miller (Mar. 22, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-226-33614-5) introduces readers to numerous communities of radicals forged across America in the 19th century, including a black antislavery collective in the Adirondacks and a band of utopian anarchists living among California’s sequoias.
Univ. of Pennsylvania
Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom by Keisha N. Blain (Feb. 26, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-8122-4988-0) surveys the tactics, ideologies, and alliances employed by a group of black nationalist women who fought for national and transnational black liberation from the early to mid-20th century.
The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss (Mar. 6, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-42972-2) reconstructs the saga of a large ensemble of suffragists, protesters, and politicians during the battle to ratify the 19th Amendment in Tennessee.
Class Matters: The Strange Career of an American Delusion by Steve Fraser (Mar. 20, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-300-22150-3) examines the role of class in American life, intertwining the author’s family history with six moments in American history.
The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia by Mark Galeotti (May 22, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-18682-6). An expert on organized crime in Russia explores the history and culture of the Vory, from the group’s origins in the early 20th century to today.