Spring brings histories of environmental disasters and journalistic crusades; accounts of epic expeditions to discover the source of the Nile and a lost city in Afghanistan; and portraits of two American political dynasties.
Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation
Kris Manjapra. Scribner, Apr. 19 ($26, ISBN 978-1-9821-2347-5)
Historian Manjapra examines why emancipation processes around the world failed to abolish the racial caste system.
Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West
Anne F. Hyde. Norton, Feb. 15 ($40, ISBN 978-0-393-63409-9)
Following five mixed-descent families from the earliest days of the fur trade through the Indian wars of the 19th century, Hyde offers a new perspective on the history of the American West.
The Facemaker: A Visionary Surgeon’s Battle to Mend the Disfigured Soldiers of World War I
Lindsey Fitzharris. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 7 ($30, ISBN 978-0-374-28230-1)
Fitzharris tells the story of pioneering plastic surgeon Harold Gillies and the injured WWI soldiers whose faces he reconstructed at his hospital in Britain.
The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies
Paul Fischer. Simon & Schuster, Apr. 19 ($28, ISBN 978-1-9821-1482-4)
The fate of Louis Le Prince, who disappeared soon after inventing one of the world’s first motion picture cameras, is examined in this history of early cinematography.
The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II
Buzz Bissinger. Harper, June 7 ($29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-287992-9)
The Friday Night Lights author recreates a football game played by Marines on Guadalcanal Island on the eve of the invasion of Okinawa.
Paradise Falls: The True Story of an Environmental Catastrophe
Keith O’Brien. Pantheon, Apr. 12 ($30, ISBN 978-0-593-31843-0)
The efforts of two mothers to expose the 1977 Love Canal toxic waste disaster are chronicled in this history from the author of Fly Girls.
The Premonitions Bureau: A True Account of Death Foretold
Sam Knight. Penguin Press, May 3 ($28, ISBN 978-1-9848-7959-2)
In the 1960s, psychiatrist John Barker began to collect and study the forebodings of the British public. New Yorker staff writer Knight unearths Barker’s surprising findings and tragic fate.
River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile
Candice Millard. Doubleday, May 3 ($32.50, ISBN 978-0-385-54310-1)
Bestseller Millard returns with the tale of Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke’s ill-fated 1856 mission to locate the headwaters of the Nile River.
Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free
Sarah Weinman. Ecco, Feb. 22 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-289976-7)
Weinman explores how death row inmate Edgar Smith manipulated conservative thinker William F. Buckley and others into believing in his innocence, only to try to kill again.
The Sewing Girl’s Tale: A Story of the Wrongs of Men—and the Rights of Women
John Sweet. Holt, July 19 ($29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-76196-5)
The first documented rape trial in U.S. history is the focus of this survey of Revolutionary-era gender politics.
Race and Reckoning: From Founding Fathers to Today’s Disruptors by Ellis Cose (July 12, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-307244-2) examines how crucial legislative decisions, from America’s founding and Reconstruction to the New Deal and up through Covid-19, have codified racial discrimination and upheld white supremacy.
Stalking the Atomic City: Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl by Markiyan Kamysh (Apr. 5, $22, ISBN 978-1-6626-0127-9) revisits the 1986 nuclear catastrophe and profiles people who have found a home and a sense of community in the disaster site.
The Forever Prisoner: The Full and Searing Account of the CIA’s Most Controversial Covert Program by Catherine Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy (Apr. 12, $30, ISBN 978-0-8021-5892-5) traces the origins of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program to the capture, six months after 9/11, of a man mistakenly believed to be a leader of al-Qaeda.
Who Can Hold the Sea: The U.S. Navy in the Cold War 1945–1960 by James D. Hornfischer (May 3, $36, ISBN 978-0-399-17864-1) documents the evolution of the U.S. Navy during the early years of the Cold War, from testing the A-bomb on Bikini Island to launching the first nuclear submarine.
The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism by Matthew Continetti (Apr. 19, $32, ISBN 978-1-5416-0050-8) chronicles the evolution of U.S. conservatism from the Progressive Era up through the Trump presidency, with a focus on recurring tensions between the movement’s mainstream and extremist wings.
Unsettled Land: From Revolution to Republic, the Struggle for Texas by Sam W. Haynes (May 3, $35, ISBN 978-1-5416-4541-7) highlights the travails of Texas’s Black, Mexican, and Indigenous communities in the years before and after the Texas revolution.
Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father by Nancy Rubin Stuart (Feb. 8, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-8070-1130-0). According to PW, “American history buffs will be fascinated” by this “revealing” look at the women in Benjamin Franklin’s life.
A Worthy Piece of Work: The Untold Story of Madeline Morgan and the Fight for Black History in Schools by Michael Hines (May 17, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-8070-0742-6) profiles the teacher and activist in WWII-era Chicago who developed one of the first public school curricula to focus on the history of Black Americans.
The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World by Shelley Puhak (Feb. 22, $30, ISBN 978-1-63557-491-3). This “deeply fascinating portrait of the early Middle Ages... vigorously reclaims two powerhouse women from obscurity,” according to PW’s starred review. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Been There, Done That: A Rousing History of Sex by Rachel Feltman (May 17, $27, ISBN 978-1-64503-716-3) explains what it was like to have herpes thousands of years ago, how goat testicle transplants were used to treat erectile dysfunction, and what Vikings thought about the female orgasm, among other topics.
It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pandemic by Jack Lowery (Apr. 5, $35, ISBN 978-1-64503-658-6) recounts how the art collective Gran Fury brought attention to the AIDS crisis and campaigned against the government’s refusal to take action against the epidemic.
The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas by Gal Beckerman (Feb. 15, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-5918-6). New York Times Book Review editor Beckerman surveys the history of social movements from the scientific revolution to Black Lives Matter, and argues that social media has replaced the closed networks where radical ideas were typically developed before they went public.
Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence by Nicholas Reynolds (June 14, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-296747-3) traces the origins of the U.S. intelligence system to WWII and profiles American spies and code breakers who helped the Allies achieve victory.
The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet by Nell McShane Wulfhart (Apr. 19, $28, ISBN 978-0-385-54645-4) examines how stewardesses’ anger over strict weight limits, marriage prohibitions, mandatory girdles, and other job demands in the 1960s and ’70s helped spark the push to end gender discrimination in the workplace.
The Founders’ Fortunes: How Money Shaped the Birth of America by Willard Sterne Randall
(Feb. 8, $29, ISBN 978-1-5247-4592-9) investigates what role the financial interests of the founders played
in the Revolutionary War and the development of the Constitution.
Against All Odds: A True Story
of Ultimate Courage and Survival in World War II by Alex Kershaw (Mar. 22, $30, ISBN 978-0-593-18374-8) recounts the heroics of four Medal of Honor recipients—including Audie Murphy and Gen. Keith Ware—who served in the same unit in the campaign to liberate Europe from the Nazis. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Hitler’s Boy Soldiers: How My Father’s Generation Was Trained to Kill and Sent to Die for Germany by Helene Munson (Apr. 12, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-61519-859-7) reveals that the Nazis trained 300,000 children as soldiers, including the author’s father, who was drafted at age 15 and sent to the front lines in the late stages of the war.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A Lynching at Port Jervis: Race and Reckoning in the Gilded Age by Philip Dray (May 24, $29, ISBN 978-0-374-19441-3) documents the 1892 lynching of a Black man in Port Jervis, N.Y., which captured the attention of journalist Ida B. Wells and stoked fears that racial violence would spread from the South to the North.
The Shores of Bohemia: A Cape Cod Story, 1910–1960 by John Taylor “Ike” Williams (May 17, $35, ISBN 978-0-374-26275-4). Literary agent Williams profiles the artists and activists—including Emma Goldman, Eugene O’Neill, Mary McCarthy, and Willem de Kooning—who gathered on Cape Cod in the first half of the 20th century.
Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History by Jeff Nussbaum (May 10, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-24070-5) surveys scrapped speeches, including a vow by Richard Nixon to stay in the White House and Hilary Clinton’s 2016 victory address, and imagines how differently the world might look if they had been delivered.
Alabama v. King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Criminal Trial That Launched the Civil Rights Movement by Dan Abrams and Fred Gray, with David Fisher (June 7, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-335-47519-0), draws on Gray’s recollections of representing Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott trial to chronicle the launch of the civil right movement. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, and the Great Environmental Awakening by Douglas Brinkley (May 24, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-06-321291-6) studies the interplay between Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, JFK’s push to protect wetlands habitats and regulate toxic pesticides, and the passage of the 1963 Clean Air Act and other environmental legislation during the Johnson administration. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret
by A.J. Baime (Feb. 1, $30, ISBN 978-0-358-44775-7) unearths the story of an African American civil rights activist and Harlem Renaissance leader who passed as a white journalist to report on the lynching of Black men in the South.
The Hangman and His Wife: The Life and Death of Reinhard Heydrich by Nancy Dougherty (Apr. 19, $35, ISBN 978-0-394-54341-3) draws on interviews with Reinhard Heydrich’s wife to uncover the Nazi leader’s rapid rise in the ranks and to describe life in the upper echelons of the Third Reich.
They Said They Wanted Revolution: A Memoir of My Parents by Neda Toloui-Semnani (Feb. 1, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-5420-0448-0) interweaves the story of how the author’s parents left Berkeley, Calif., to join the revolution in Iran with the history of the relationship between Iran and the U.S.
Born to Be Hanged: The Epic Story of the Gentlemen Pirates Who Raided the South Seas, Rescued a Princess, and Stole a Fortune by Keith Thomson (May 10, $32, ISBN 978-0-316-70361-1) recounts the first pirate raids in the Pacific Ocean, a two-year expedition beginning in 1680 that included the sacking of Panama City and clashes with Spanish conquistadores along the coastline of South America.
In the Houses of Their Dead: The Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits by Terry Alford (June 14, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-560-1) reveals that Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, shared an interest in spiritualism, and that the Booth and Lincoln families saw the same mediums, one of whom foretold Lincoln’s death.
Resistance: The Underground War Against Hitler, 1939–1945 by Halik Kochanski (May 24, $45, ISBN 978-1-324-09165-3) is a single-volume history
of the many resistance
movements that emerged in
Nazi-occupied territories of Europe.
The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty by Neal Thompson (Feb. 22, $28, ISBN 978-0-358-43769-7). According to
PW, this “illuminating” portrait of the Kennedy family’s earliest years in the U.S. is an “engrossing, real-life rags-to-riches tale.”
April 1945: The Hinge of History by Craig Shirley (Feb. 22, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-4002-1708-3). In the follow-up to December 1941, Shirley chronicles the events of April 1945, including President Franklin Roosevelt’s sudden death, Adolf Hitler’s suicide, and Harry Truman’s introduction to the Manhattan Project.
Slaves for Peanuts: A Story of Conquest, Liberation, and a Crop That Changed History by Jori Lewis (Apr. 19, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-156-7) details how European demand for peanut oil facilitated the trans-atlantic slave trade and ensured the
persistence of slavery in Africa into the 20th century.
To Walk About in Freedom: The Long Emancipation of Priscilla Joyner by Carole Emberton (Mar. 8, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00182-9) draws on oral histories gathered by the Federal Writers Project during the Great Depression to recreate the lives of formerly enslaved people after emancipation.
Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor by Kim Kelly (Apr. 26, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-7105-6) recounts the history of the U.S. labor movement from 1860s Mississippi, where a group of formerly enslaved women formed one of the country’s first unions, to the contemporary fight to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala.
The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era by Gary Gerstle (Apr. 5, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-19-751964-6) analyzes how the collapse of the Soviet Union fueled the rise of neoliberalism in the West and links the downfall of the neoliberal worldview to the George W. Bush administration’s failures to rebuild Iraq and head off the 2008 economic crash.
The Imposter’s War: The Press, Propaganda, and the Battle for the Minds of America by Mark Arsenault (Apr. 5, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-64313-936-4) documents Germany’s use of propaganda and espionage to try to keep the U.S. out of WWI and profiles the enigmatic yet influential journalist whose campaign to expose the subterfuge rested on lies.
Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War by Roger Lowenstein (Mar. 8, $30, ISBN 978-0-7352-2355-4) probes how the Lincoln administration’s efforts to fund the Civil War led to the development of the transcontinental railroad, the establishment of a progressive income tax, and other initiatives that greatly expanded the role of the U.S. government in people’s lives.
In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, the Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism by Michael Brenner, trans. by Jeremiah Riemer (Mar. 1, $35, ISBN 978-0-691-19103-4) examines how Munich and the province of Bavaria became a breeding ground for anti-Semitism in the aftermath of WWI and the failed November Revolution of 1918–19.
Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism by David Hanna (June 15, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-63388-676-6) explores the links between the aviation technology showcased at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and the ascent of fascist leaders in Europe.
The Far Land: 200 Years of Murder, Mania, and Mutiny in the South Pacific by Brandon Presser (Mar. 8, $30, ISBN 978-1-5417-5857-5) reveals what happened to the HMS Bounty mutineers after they settled on Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific and how their legacy affects the island’s current residents.
Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: Reporters of the Lost Generation in a World at War by Deborah Cohen (Mar. 15, $30, ISBN 978-0-525-51119-9) profiles a tight-knit group of American reporters, including H.R. Knicker-
bocker and Dorothy Thompson, who broke journalistic taboos to cover world affairs and the tumults of their own lives in the 1920s.
Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong by Louisa Lim (Apr. 19, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-19181-1) interweaves the history of Hong Kong with the author’s perspective—as a half-Chinese, half-English journalist raised in the city—on the protest movement that erupted in 2019.
Rowman & Littlefield
Greed in the Gilded Age: The Brilliant Con of Cassie Chadwick by William Elliott Hazelgrove (Feb. 15, $26, ISBN 978-1-5381-4290-5). PW says that “true crime fans will devour this sad, cautionary tale” of a con artist who claimed to be Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter.
A Memoir of Madness, Murder, and My Search for the Poet Beneath the Paint by Lee Durkee (July 12, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-9821-2714-5) recounts the author’s decades-long search for an accurate portrait of William Shakespeare painted from real life.
Simon & Schuster
Lincoln and the Fight for Peace by John Avlon (Feb. 15, $30, ISBN 978-1-9821-0812-0) spotlights a two-week trip Abraham Lincoln made in April 1865 to visit troops on the front lines of the Civil War as a model of the peaceful reconciliation between North and South he hoped to achieve after the conflict came to an end.
The Double Life of Katharine Clark: The Untold Story of the Fearless Journalist Who Risked Her Life for Truth and Justice by Katharine Gregorio (Mar. 15, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-7282-4841-7) is the story of the author’s great-aunt, who worked as a wire reporter in the Soviet bloc and smuggled the bestselling anti-Communist manifesto The New Class out of Yugoslavia.
The King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria by Edmund Richardson (Apr. 5, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27859-3) details explorer and East India Company agent Charles Masson’s exploits in 19th-century India and Afghanistan, including the 1833 discovery of the Afghan city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains.
Univ. of California
A World Transformed: Slavery in the Americas and the Origins of Global Power by James Walvin (Apr. 19, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-520-38624-2) documents how slavery created the modern world by giving rise to new trading networks, changing the consumer habits of millions of people, and shaping Western tastes and culture.
Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931–1945 by Richard Overy (Apr. 5, $35, ISBN 978-0-670-02516-9) contends that the Axis powers’ imperialistic ambitions sparked WWII, which brought an end to all territorial empires, and examines the conflict’s heavy toll on civilian populations around the world.
Woman: The American History of an Idea by Lillian Faderman (Mar. 15, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-300-24990-3)
surveys American attitudes toward womanhood from the Puritan colonies of New England to the transgender movement of today.