Civil rights crusaders, feminist rule breakers, undercover resistance fighters, swashbuckling explorers, and relentless justice seekers headline a season jam-packed with revolutionary moments in American history.
The Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865–1915
Jon Grinspan. Bloomsbury, Apr. 27 ($30, ISBN 978-1-63557-462-3)
Historian Grinspan tracks the shift from the tribal politics of the post–Civil War era to modern-day democratic norms through the story of a Pennsylvania congressman and his activist daughter.
The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights
Dorothy Wickenden. Scribner, Mar. 30 ($30, ISBN 978-1-4767-6073-5)
The friendship between Harriet Tubman, Frances Seward, and Martha Wright is the focus of this history from New Yorker editor Wickenden.
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake
Tiya Miles. Random House, June 8 ($28, ISBN 978-1-9848-5499-5)
Harvard history professor Miles chronicles three generations of a Black family’s life through the story of a cotton sack given by an enslaved woman to her nine-year-old daughter in 1850s South Carolina.
The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
Henry Louis Gates. Penguin Press, Feb. 16 ($30, ISBN 978-1-9848-8033-8)
Drawing from his own experiences growing up in segregated West Virginia, Gates examines the Black church as a source of strength for African Americans across 400 years of U.S. history.
By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution
Margaret and David Talbot. Harper, June 8 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-282039-6)
Sister-and-brother journalists profile seven radical movements in the 1960s and ’70s, including the Black Panthers, the United Farm Workers, and the Jane Collective.
Endpapers: A Family Story of Books, War, Escape, and Home
Alexander Wolff. Atlantic Monthly, Mar. 2 ($26, ISBN 978-0-8021-5825-3)
Wolff recounts the WWII stories of his grandfather, Pantheon Books founder Kurt Wolff, and his father, Niko Wolff, who served in the German army despite his Jewish heritage.
Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II
Daniel James Brown. Viking, May 11 ($28, ISBN 978-0-525-55740-1)
Brown’s follow-up to The Boys in the Boat spotlights four Japanese Americans who fought for the U.S. Army in WWII and one who sued the federal government over its internment policy.
The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age
Amy Sohn. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 6 ($28, ISBN 978-1-250-17481-9
Novelist Sohn chronicles the battles birth control activist Margaret Sanger, anarchist Emma Goldman, and other women waged against U.S. Postal Inspector Anthony Comstock.
New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation
Thomas Dyja. Simon & Schuster, Mar. 16 ($30, ISBN 978-1-9821-4978-9)
New York City has undergone three evolutions in the past 40 years and is in the midst of a fourth, according to this history from the author of The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream.
South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon Line to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Imani Perry. Ecco, June 8 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-297740-3)
Perry, who was born in Birmingham, Ala., and raised in Cambridge, Mass., blends memoir and history in this look at the central role the American South plays in U.S. national identity.
The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP by Alex Tresniowski (Feb. 9, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-1402-2). According to PW’s review, “this thrilling true crime story documents a critical chapter in the crusade against racial violence in America.”
The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian-Era Serial Killer by Dean Jobb (July 13, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-689-5) revisits the case of Thomas Neill Cream, who poisoned at least 10 women in Britain, Canada, and the U.S. in the late 19th century.
We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy by Natalie Baszile (Apr. 6, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293256-3). Novelist Baszile gathers essays, poems, photographs, and interviews to chronicle the history of Black farming in America from the slave era to the present.
The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King (Apr. 13, $30, ISBN 978-0-8021-5852-9) profiles Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci, who produced and sold hundreds of illuminated manuscripts in the decades preceding the invention of the printing press.
Fortune’s Many Houses: A Victorian Visionary, a Noble Scottish Family, and a Lost Inheritance by Simon Welfare (Feb. 16, $30, ISBN 978-1-9821-2862-3) spotlights John and Ishbel Hamilton-Gordon, married Scottish aristocrats and social reformers who spent their fortune trying to help others.
The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America by Elizabeth Letts (June 1, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-61932-1) recounts how 63-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins, who wanted to see the Pacific Ocean before she died, rode a horse named Tarzan across America between 1954 and 1956.
Stalin’s War: A New History of World War II by Sean McMeekin (Apr. 20, $40, ISBN 978-1-5416-7279-6) recasts Soviet leader Joseph Stalin as the central figure of WWII, whose maneuverings precipitated conflict in Europe and Asia, opening the door for communism to spread from Berlin to Beijing.
Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance by Mia Bay (Mar. 23, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-97996-3) looks at the role travel restrictions played in the creation of Jim Crow laws and the fight to overturn them.
Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778–1781 by John E. Ferling (May 11, $35, ISBN 978-1-63557-276-6) examines the second half of the Revolutionary War, when England’s “southern strategy” brought victory within reach, until George Washington claimed a key victory at the Battle of Yorktown.
Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (Mar. 9, $27, ISBN 978-1-250-22435-4). Journalist Green documents the decade-long hunt for a serial killer who targeted gay men in New York City during the 1980s and ’90s.
Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice by Emily Midorikawa (May 11, $27, ISBN 978-1-64009-230-3) profiles women, including Georgina Weldon and Victoria Woodhull, who used their clairvoyant gifts to achieve fame and influence in America and England during the Victorian era.
Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike by Brian Castner (Apr. 13, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54450-4) chronicles the 1897–1898 Klondike Gold Rush through the stories of people who lived it, among them writer Jack London, gangster Soapy Smith, and hotel owner Belinda Mulrooney.
The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice by Scott Ellsworth (May 18, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-18298-7). On the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, historian Ellsworth details the origins and aftermath of the tragedy.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Republic of Detours: How the New Deal Paid Broke Writers to Rediscover America by Scott Borchert (June 15, $28, ISBN 978-0-374-29845-6) revisits the Federal Writers’ Program, which employed writers including Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, and Nelson Algren to create a series of guidebooks to the 48 states.
The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs (Feb. 2, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-75612-1) is a group biography of the women who raised three of America’s most important civil rights activists.
Two Against Hitler: The Daring Mission to Save Europe’s Opera Stars from the Nazis by Isabel Vincent (May 4, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-45499-5) documents how British sisters Ida and Louise Cook helped two dozen Jewish members of the German opera community escape to London between 1937 and the start of WWII.
The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680–1790 by Ritchie Robertson (Feb. 23, $45, ISBN 978-0-06-241065-8). According to PW’s starred review, this “massive and deeply erudite work serves as a stimulating and accessible introduction to a watershed period in the intellectual development of the West.”
Checkmate in Berlin: The Cold War Showdown That Shaped the Modern World by Giles Milton (June 1, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-24756-8) draws on diaries, memoirs, and unpublished papers to document the division of Berlin into American, British, French, and Soviet zones of occupation after WWII.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am by Julia Cooke (Mar. 2, $28, ISBN 978-0-358-25140-8) profiles women who worked as Pan Am stewardesses between 1966 and 1975 and the role they played in the Vietnam War.
Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes by Tim Brady (Feb. 23, $26, ISBN 978-0-8065-4038-2) recounts the covert actions of three young women who joined an anti-Nazi resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem during WWII.
King Richard: Nixon and Watergate—an American Tragedy by Michael Dobbs (May 25, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-35009-9). Historian Dobbs draws on newly released tape recordings to chronicle the 100 days between Richard Nixon’s second inauguration in January 1973 and the unraveling of the Watergate conspiracy.
The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands (Feb. 2, $30, ISBN 978-0-525-52096-2) investigates SS officer Otto von Wächter’s war crimes, escape from Germany, and possible murder in Rome in 1949, in a work that PW calls “solemn, graceful, and powerful.”
Sprinting Through No Man’s Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour de France by Adin Dobkin (July 6, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-5420-1882-1). Journalist Dobkin recounts the 13th Tour de France, which started one day after the official end of WWI on June 28, 1919, and included many soldiers turned cyclists.
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith (June 1, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-49293-5). Poet and journalist Smith tours Angola Prison in Louisiana, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, and other monuments and landmarks to examine the legacy of slavery in American history.
The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914–1918 by Nick Lloyd (Mar. 9, $35, ISBN 978-1-63149-794-0) documents the technological and tactical innovations that occurred in the trenches of Belgium and France during WWI and reveals how first-rate generalship helped to bring the war to an end.
Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine by Anna Della Subin (July 13, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-29687-0) covers five centuries of world history in this look at men—including Christopher Columbus, Egyptian ruler Haile Selassie, and Prince Philip of England—who have been worshipped as divine beings.
To Poison a Nation: The Murder of Robert Charles and the Rise of Jim Crow Policing in America by Andrew Baker (June 15, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-603-6) revisits the July 1900 confrontation between a Black man and white police officers that sparked three days of riots and the largest manhunt in New Orleans history.
American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783–1850 by Alan Taylor (May 18, $35, ISBN 978-1-324-00579-7). Pulitzer winner Taylor chronicles a formative period in U.S. history that saw bitter political divisions, foreign powers aligning with Native tribes, and a crisis over the spread of slavery into new territories.
Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction by Kate Masur (Mar. 23, $32, ISBN 978-1-324-00593-3) looks at the biracial movement to challenge state laws restricting the rights of free Blacks in the half century before the Civil War.
The Chiefs Now in This City: Indians and the Urban Frontier in Early America by Colin Calloway (May 11, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-19-754765-6) draws on accounts of Native leaders visiting American cities in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to reconsider the dynamic between Indigenous peoples and European settlers.
Terror to the Wicked: America’s First Trial by Jury That Ended a War and Helped to Form a Nation by Tobey Pearl (Mar. 16, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87171-3) recounts the first murder trial in U.S. history, when a white servant stood accused of killing a Native American near Plymouth Colony in 1638.
Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine by Olivia Campbell (Mar. 2, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-8939-2) profiles the first three women to become
doctors in England, Scotland, and the U.S.
Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Ferguson (May 4, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-29737-7) looks at disasters throughout history to understand the causes of America’s bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story by Kate Summerscale (Apr. 27, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-55792-0) recounts the 1938 case of a London housewife haunted by a poltergeist and the Hungarian ghost hunter who discovered the source of her possession.
Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America’s Founders by Dennis C. Rasmussen (Mar. 2, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-21023-0) details how and why George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton came to despair late in their lives over the fate of the country and the Constitution.
The Battle for the Big Top: P.T. Barnum, James Bailey, John Ringling and the Death-Defying Saga of the American Circus by Les Standiford (June 15, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-6228-2) tells the story of the three rivals who came together to create Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette and the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan (June 15, $30, ISBN 978-1-5417-3033-5). Historian Duncan chronicles the Marquis de Lafayette’s role in the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty in 1830.
The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (June 1, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-5384-4) reveals how two British officers used a Ouija board, a treasure hunt, and the psychology of deception to escape from a Turkish prison camp during WWI.
Lincoln in Private: What His Most Personal Reflections Tell Us About Our Greatest President by Ronald C. White (May 4, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-5509-1) explores what Abraham Lincoln’s private notes say about his thoughts on slavery, his religious beliefs, and his views on the secession crisis, among other topics.
The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover by Paul Letersky (July 13, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-6470-6). The FBI director’s former assistant documents the period he spent working for Hoover in the 1960s and ’70s.
Simon & Schuster
Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice by Bruce Levine (Mar. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-4767-9337-5) documents the life and career of the Pennsylvania congress-man who led the Republican Party’s radical wing in the years before the Civil War and urged President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion by Jeff Guinn (May 18, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-2886-9) tells the story of the border war between the U.S. and Mexico that began with Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, N.Mex., in 1916.
The Girl Explorers: The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew, and Fought Their Way Around the World by Jayne Zanglein (Mar. 2, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-7282-1524-2) revisits the founding of the Society of Women Geographers in 1925 and the discoveries made by pioneering female explorers.
Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America’s First Frontier by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury (Apr. 20, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-24713-1) recounts frontiersman Daniel Boone’s role in the Revolutionary War and the struggle by American colonists to settle lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany by Gwen Strauss (May 4, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-23929-7) details Strauss’s great-aunt’s escape, alongside eight other women in the French resistance, from a German forced labor camp in WWII.
Univ. of California
We Are the Land: A History of Native California by Damon B. Akins and William J. Bauer (Apr. 6, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-520-28049-6) tracks the history of California through the experiences of its Native peoples, from their first encounters with European explorers to 21st-
century legal battles.
China in One Village: The History of One Town and the Future of the World by Liang Hong (June 22, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-83976-177-5). Literary scholar Hong interviews her family members and tracks the history of her ancestral village in Heibei province to examine the impact of rural-to-urban migration on Chinese society.
Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West by Blaine Harden (Apr. 27, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-56166-8) examines how the 1837 Whitman massacre in Oregon Territory became a foundational myth of the Pacific Northwest.
A Fortress in Brooklyn: Race, Real Estate, and the Making of Hasidic Williamsburg by Nathaniel Deutsch and Michael Casper (May 11, $30, ISBN 978-0-300-23109-0) documents how a group of intensely religious Holocaust survivors built and maintained their separatist community in Brooklyn.