Of note this fall: deep dives into storied American lineages, reckonings with racist forebears, reconsiderations of the Roman empire, and biographies of both prominent and obscure African Americans of the 19th century.
American Anarchy: The Epic Struggle Between Immigrant Radicals and the U.S. Government at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
Michael Willrich. Basic, Oct. 31 ($32.50, ISBN 978-1-5416-9737-9)
Historian Willrich traces the roots of the modern civil liberties movement to the U.S. government’s crackdown on Emma Goldman and other anarchists in the early 1900s.
A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy
Nathan Thrall. Metropolitan, Oct. 3 ($29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-85497-1)
Expanding on his 2021 New York Review of Books essay, Thrall views the tangled history of Jerusalem through the lens a single horrific event: a deadly accident involving a school bus.
Eyeliner: A Cultural History
Zahra Hankir. Penguin, Nov. 14 ($26, ISBN 978-0-14-313709-2)
This millennia-spanning history of eyeliner draws on interviews with nomads in Chad, geishas in Japan, and drag queens in New York City to illuminate the significance of an ancient art.
The Last Ships from Hamburg: Business, Rivalry, and the Race to Save Russia’s Jews on the Eve of World War I
Steven Ujifusa. Harper, Nov. 21 ($32, ISBN 978-0-06-297187-6)
Historian Ujifusa spotlights three American businessmen—Albert Ballin, J.P. Morgan, and Jacob Schiff—who facilitated the escape of 2.5 million Jews from pre-WWI Russia.
The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Gregg Hecimovich. Ecco, Oct. 17 ($40, ISBN 978-0-06-233473-2)
Furman University English professor Hecimovich presents his research into the identity of the fugitive slave who wrote the earliest known novel by an African American woman .
The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination
Stuart A. Reid. Knopf, Oct. 3 ($30, ISBN 978-1-5247-4881-4)
Journalist Reid documents the 1960 overthrow of Congo’s prime minister Patrice Lumumba in a U.S.-backed coup and reveals a CIA plot to kill him that was never carried out.
A Rome of One’s Own: The Forgotten Women of the Roman Empire
Emma Southon. Abrams Press, Nov. 7 ($27, ISBN 978-1-4197-6018-1)
The author of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum retells the story of Rome through the lives of 21 female poets, rebel leaders, and others who made history across the empire.
Tripping on Utopia: Margaret Mead, the Cold War, and the Troubled Birth of Psychedelic Science
Benjamin Breen. Grand Central, Jan. 16 ($30, ISBN 978-1-5387-2237-4)
Historian Breen details the strange course married anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson found themselves on when they pursued their research into psychedelic drugs.
Until I Find You: Disappeared Children and Coercive Adoptions in Guatemala
Rachel Nolan. Harvard Univ., Jan. 2 ($35, ISBN 978-0-674-27035-0)
Nolan’s investigation reveals how 40,000 children, many of them Indigenous Mayans, were funneled from Guatemala to the U.S. for adoption in the 1990s and 2000s.
Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation
Tiya Miles. Norton, Sept. 19 ($22, ISBN 978-1-324-02087-5)
The National Book Award winner examines the role the outdoors played in the lives and work of Harriet Tubman, Louisa May Alcott, and other American women who disrupted the status quo.
The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin (Jan. 16, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-307299-2) narrates the stories of five survivors of the 1860 voyage of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to arrive in the U.S., whose lives extended well into the 20th century and intersected with politics, the arts, and the making of American culture.
Atlantic Monthly Press
Flight of the WASP: The Rise, Fall, and Future of America’s Original Ruling Class by Michael Gross (Nov. 14, $30, ISBN 978-0-8021-6186-4) spotlights 15 descendants of colonial America’s privileged founding families, highlighting their triumphs and failings across four centuries.
The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel: Genius, Power, and Deception on the Eve of World War I by Douglas Brunt (Sept. 19, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-982169-90-9) revisits the life of the eponymous inventor of the diesel engine and the mystery of his disappearance from a steamship on the eve of WWI.
UFO: The Inside Story of the U.S. Government’s Search for Alien Life Here—and Out There by Garrett M. Graff (Nov. 14, $30, ISBN 978-1-982196-77-6) surveys the American government’s attempts to study the UFO phenomenon over decades, drawing on declassified documents and interviews with intelligence and military officials.
America’s Black Capital: How African Americans Remade Atlanta in the Shadow of the Confederacy by Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar (Nov. 14, $35, ISBN 978-1-5416-0199-4) chronicles how Atlanta transformed from a Confederate stronghold into a center of Black cultural life, showcasing how the city’s Black institutions pushed back against white nationalist ideology.
Magus: The Art of Magic from Faustus to Agrippa by Anthony Grafton (Dec. 5, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-674-65973-5) argues that the magus—a kind of learned courtly magician—was an integral figure in the intellectual life of Renaissance Europe.
Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery’s Borderland by Scott Shane (Sept. 19, $30, ISBN 978-1-250-84321-0) restores to prominence Thomas Smallwood, a free Black man who organized mass escapes of enslaved people in the 1840s and taunted slaveholders in newspaper columns, popularizing the term “underground railroad.”
Starkweather: The Untold Story of the Killing Spree That Changed America by Harry N. MacLean (Nov. 28, $30, ISBN 978-1-64009-541-0) reexamines the circumstances and cultural impact of Charles Starkweather’s murderous rampage in 1958 Lincoln, Neb.
Silent Cavalry: How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta—and Then Got Written Out of History by Howell Raines (Dec. 5, $35, ISBN 978-0-593-13775-8) uncovers the systemic erasure by pro-Confederacy historians and archivists of the heroic contributions to the Union’s victory made by an Alabama cavalry regiment.
American Castle: One Hundred Years of Mar-a-Lago by Mary Shanklin (Sept. 12, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-63576-896-1) details the 100-year history of Mar-a-Lago, from its origins as the home of socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, to its acquisition by the National Park Service in 1973, and its current incarnation as Donald J. Trump’s private club.
Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and the Brawling Birth of American Politics by H.W. Brands (Nov. 7, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-385-54924-0) reveals the intense partisanship of the Founding Fathers during America’s early years, which were characterized by contentious elections and violations of the Constitution.
Foreign Bodies: Pandemics, Vaccines, and the Health of Nations by Simon Schama (Sept. 19, $32.99, ISBN 978-1-328-97483-9) surveys the history of disease eradication efforts, the science behind them, and the political and cultural
evolution of public health.
The Matryoshka Memoirs: A Story of Ukrainian Forced Labour, the Leica Camera Factory, and Nazi Resistance by Sasha Colby (Sept. 12, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77041-735-9) recounts how the author’s Ukrainian grandmother was rescued from forced labor under the Nazi regime by the heiress to the Leica camera factory.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 Rifle by Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson (Sept. 26, $32, ISBN 978-0-374-10385-9) tracks the rise of the AR-15, from its invention in a California garage in the 1950s to its ubiquity in gun stores today, and profiles gunmakers who embraced the automatic weapon as a financial boon.
How to Be: Life Lessons from
the Early Greeks by Adam Nicolson (Oct. 17, $32, ISBN 978-0-374-61010-4) tours the Mediterranean landscapes familiar to classical figures such as Homer and Sappho, seeking the state of mind that birthed Western thought.
Ferris & Ferris
The Vice President’s Black Wife: The Untold Life of Julia Chinn by Amrita Chakrabarti Myers (Oct. 10, $30, ISBN 978-1-4696-7523-7) pieces together the trace evidence left in the archival record of Julia Ann Chinn, the enslaved common-law wife of Martin Van Buren’s vice-president, Richard Merton Johnson.
Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and the Washington Post by Martin Baron (Oct. 3, $34.99, ISBN 978-1-250-84420-0). The former editor of the Washington Post, whose tenure included Jeff Bezos’s purchase of the paper and Donald Trump’s presidency, details the era’s major investigations, changing power dynamics, and newsroom conflicts.
Glitter and Concrete: A Cultural History of Drag in New York City by Elyssa Maxx Goodman (Sept. 12, $32.99, ISBN 978-1-335-44936-8) chronicles the evolution of drag in New York from the 1920s to now, illuminating its influence on music, politics, and popular culture.
Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine by David Petraeus and Andrew Roberts (Oct. 17, $40, ISBN 978-0-06-329313-7). Retired U.S. Army general Petraeus and historian Roberts examine the evolution of warfare over seven decades, highlighting oft-repeated mistakes by military leaders and the challenge of new technologies.
An Enemy Such as This: Larry Casuse and the Fight for Native Liberation in One Family on Two Continents over Three Centuries by David Correia (Sept. 12, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64259-977-0) recounts one Indigenous family’s struggle against colonialism over multiple generations in New Mexico and outside the U.S.
Judgment at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Asia by Gary J. Bass (Oct. 17, $45, ISBN 978-1-101-94710-4) revisits the postwar trial of Japan’s political and military leaders as war criminals, demonstrating how divisions that emerged among the prosecuting Allied nations persist to this day.
The Money Kings: The Epic Story of the Jewish Immigrants Who Transformed Wall Street and Shaped Modern America by Daniel Schulman (Nov. 14, $35, ISBN 978-0-451-49354-5) traces the German-Jewish immigrant families who founded the modern American finance system—the Goldmans, Sachses, Lehmans, and others—from their roots as small-time shopkeepers.
In the Pines: A Lynching, a Lie, a Reckoning by Grace Elizabeth Hale (Nov. 7, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-56474-8) investigates the role the author’s grandfather, a Mississippi sheriff, played in the death of a Black man in 1947 and reveals that the reported suicide was really a lynching.
Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World by Mary Beard (Oct. 24, $37.95, ISBN 978-0-87140-422-0). The author of SPQR returns with an in-depth look at how much personal power Roman emperors wielded, highlighting their intimate and everyday encounters with confidants, enemies, and commoners.
Germany 1923: Hyperinflation, Hitler’s Putsch, and Democracy in Crisis by Volker Ullrich, trans. by Jefferson Chase (Sept. 26, $35, ISBN 978-1-324-09346-6), takes a close look at the political chaos of the pivotal year 1923 in Germany, chronicling what Stefan Zweig called a “year of lunacy.”
Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener by Gay Talese (Sept. 19, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-358-45547-9) reminisces about the many “nobodies” of New York City Talese has profiled over the years, and culminates with a new story about a doctor who blew up his own brownstone.
The Revolutionary Temper: Paris, 1748–1789 by Robert Darnton (Nov. 7, $45, ISBN 978-1-324-03558-9) illuminates the mindset of Parisians in the 40 years preceding the French Revolution through analysis of pamphlets, gossip, public performances, and other forms of communication.
Budapest: Portrait of a City Between East and West by Victor Sebestyen (Sept. 5, $35, ISBN 978-0-593-31756-3) spotlights the capital of Hungary as a crossroads of civilization, tracking the ebb and flow of empires and highlighting the city’s famous and obscure characters, including Theodor Herzl and a Polish princess turned serial killer.
The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times by Wolfram Eilenberger (Aug. 8, $32, ISBN 978-0-593-29745-2). The author of Time of the Magicians examines how four women philosophers’ ideas, developed in the period from 1933 to 1943, shaped the 20th century and beyond.
Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class by Max Fraser (Sept. 26, $32, ISBN 978-0-691-19111-9) documents the migration of more than eight million poor white Southerners to the industrializing Midwest in the early 20th century, tracing its impact on politics and culture.
Narcotopia: In Search of the Asian Drug Cartel That Survived the CIA by Patrick Winn (Jan. 30, $30, ISBN 978-1-5417-0195-3) uncovers the history of the Wa nation, an unofficial state and global narcotics operation in the Golden Triangle region of southeast Asia with a bigger military than Sweden.
One Fine Day: Britain’s Empire on the Brink by Matthew Parker (Sept. 26, $35, ISBN 978-1-5417-0382-7) snapshots the entire British Empire on the final day of its furthest extent—September 29, 1923—depicting liberation movements on the upswing and colonial officials riven by doubt.
Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison’s Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation by Peter Stark (Aug. 29, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-593-13361-3). According to PW’s review, “vivid biographical detail and astute analysis” make this “an informative chapter in the history of the American frontier.”
On Great Fields: The Life and Unlikely Heroism of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain by Ronald C. White (Oct. 31, $35, ISBN 978-0-525-51008-6) portrays the life of the bookish Bowdoin College professor who turned the tide at the Battle of Gettysburg and went on to become governor of Maine in 1867.
Love in a Time of Hate: Art and Passion in the Shadow of War by Florian Illies, trans. by Simon Pare (Sept. 19, $29, ISBN 978-0-593-71393-8), profiles a sprawling cast of artists and thinkers living in 1930s Paris, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Marlene Dietrich, and Vladimir Nabokov.
Sailing the Graveyard Sea: The Deathly Voyage of the Somers, the U.S. Navy’s Only Mutiny, and the Trial That Gripped the Nation by Richard Snow (Nov. 21, $29, ISBN 978-1-982185-44-2) revisits an 1842 mutiny on board a U.S. Navy training cruise, which may have been a case of group hysteria.
The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts by Loren Grush (Sept. 12, $32.50, ISBN 978-1-982172-80-0) recounts how six women became NASA’s first female astronauts in 1977 while enduring rigorous training and overbearing scrutiny from the media.
Simon & Schuster
The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy: And the Path to a Shared American Future by Robert P. Jones (Sept. 5, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-66800-951-2) locates the origins of white supremacist ideology in the colonial dispossession of Native Americans starting in 1493, and chronicles the parallel histories of Black and Indigenous oppression.
Following Caesar: From Rome to Constantinople, the Pathways That Planted the Seeds of Empire by John Keahey (Dec. 12, $30, ISBN 978-1-250-79240-2) highlights the importance of ancient roads in the rise of Julius Caesar—whose highway restoration projects launched his political career—and traces those roads’ legacy through history.
Into Siberia: George Kennan’s Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia by Gregory Wallance (Dec. 5, $30, ISBN 978-1-250-28005-3) recounts explorer George Kennan’s 1885 tour of Siberia, which revealed the cruelty of the czar’s “exile system” and precipitated the long downturn in diplomatic relations between Russia and the U.S.
Univ. of California
Beyond Orientalism: Ahmad ibn Qasim al-Hajari Between Europe and North Africa by Oumelbanine Zhiri (Sept. 5, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-520-39045-4) contends that an Arabic republic of letters existed alongside and in conversation with the European one of the 17th and 18th centuries, challenging the established historiography of the Enlightenment.
Univ. of Chicago
American Imperialist: Cruelty and Consequence in the Scramble for Africa by Arwen P. Mohun (Nov. 20, $30, ISBN 978-0-226-82819-0) spotlights the author’s ancestor Richard Dorsey Mohun, a globe-trotting agent of imperialism for hire, whose harmful schemes in the Belgian Congo and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century reveal the danger of unchecked ambition.
Mother Tongue: The Surprising History of Women’s Words by Jenni Nuttall (Aug. 29, $29, ISBN 978-0-593-29957-9). This “eye-opening survey” of words used to describe women and their work from the fifth century to 1800 is “required reading,” according to PW’s starred review.
The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Alien Encounters, Civil Rights, and the New Age in America by Matthew Bowman (Oct. 24, $30, ISBN 978-0-300-25138-8) views the social upheaval of the 1960s through the lens of a New Hampshire interracial couple who were the first Americans to claim they had been abducted by aliens.