Spring books feature historical fashions, new revelations about WWII technological innovations, wide-ranging surveys on the history of Black identity, and biographies of 20th-century Chinese political figures and families.

Top 10

After 1177 B.C.: The Survival of Civilizations

Eric H. Cline. Princeton Univ., May 7 ($32, ISBN 978-0-691-19213-0)

Cline follows up the bestselling 1177 B.C. with an account of how civilization recovered after the collapse of the Bronze Age.

The Age of Revolutions: And the Generations Who Made It

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal. Basic, Feb. 20 ($35, ISBN 978-1-5416-0319-6)

The failures of the revolutionary generation of the late 18th century molded their successors, a more organized but also more authoritarian generation of radicals in the early 19th century, according to University of Southern California historian Perl-Rosenthal.

Black Meme: The History of the Images That Make Us

Legacy Russell. Verso, May 7 ($19.95, ISBN 978-1-83976-280-2)

Russell returns after Glitch Feminism with a look at how contemporary visual culture, characterized by virality and memes, has been shaped by historic representations of Black life and death.

Covert City: The Cold War and the Making of Miami

Vince Houghton and Eric Driggs. PublicAffairs, Apr. 23 ($29, ISBN 978-1-5417-7457-5)

The money and infrastructure that supported a CIA station built in midcentury Miami to monitor Cuban exile gangs and political networks was critical to the city’s development, suggest the authors.

Love and Whiskey: Uncle Nearest, Jack Daniel, and Distilling a Business Legacy in Black and White

Fawn Weaver. Sweet July, June 18 ($28, ISBN 978-1-63893-128-7)

Weaver recounts her efforts to help produce and sell the legacy whiskey recipe preserved by descendants of Nearest Green, the Black distiller who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. 150,000-copy announced first printing.

The Playbook: A Story of Theater, Democracy, and the Making of a Culture War

James Shapiro. Penguin Press, May 28 ($30, ISBN 978-0-593-49020-4)

The Federal Theatre Project was the first New Deal program targeted by the House Un-American Affairs Committee, in a move that set the template for future right-wing attacks, Shapiro reveals.

The Rise and Fall of the Second American Republic: Reconstruction, 1860–1920

Manisha Sinha. Liveright, Mar. 26 ($39.99, ISBN 978-1-63149-844-2)

Sinha melds multiple struggles in turn-of-the-century America, including Chinese expulsion and the failure of Reconstruction, into a narrative of multiracial democracy battling reactionary forces.

Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories

Amitav Ghosh. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb. 13 ($32, ISBN 978-0-374-60292-5)

Drawing on decades of archival research—including into his own family—Ghosh traces the global impact of the British-engineered trade in opium.

Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force That Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War

Jon Grinspan. Bloomsbury, May 14 ($32, ISBN 978-1-63973-064-3)

Grinspan spotlights the Wide Awakes, a multiracial antislavery youth movement that started out serving as bodyguards for abolitionist speakers. 60,000-copy announced first printing.

The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook

Hampton Sides. Doubleday, Apr. 16 ($35, ISBN 978-0-385-54476-4)

The uncharacteristic cruelty toward Native peoples that explorer James Cook exhibited in the months before his 1779 murder in Hawaii may have been triggered by pressure from Britain to focus on the needs of the empire, asserts bestseller Sides. 200,000-copy announced first printing.

History longlist

Abrams Press

Women Money Power: The Rise and Fall of Economic Equality by Josie Cox (Mar. 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-4197-6298-7) tracks 20th-century pioneers of women’s financial freedom, including an heiress who financed the creation of the birth control pill, and surveys today’s stagnation in the battle for equal pay.


Pinnacle: The Lost Paradise of Rasta by Bill Howell (July 2, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-63614-172-5) is a biography of Leonard Howell, a Jamaican nonviolent protest leader who resisted British colonial rule and founded a self-reliant commune that birthed the Rastafari movement, written by his son.


Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women by Maggie Mertens (June 18, $30, ISBN 978-1-64375-335-5) contends that ever since Stamata Revithi’s unsanctioned 1896 run in the first modern Olympic marathon, the sport of running has been on the front lines of feminism.

Atlantic Monthly Press

Burma ’44: The Battle That Turned Britain’s War in the East by James Holland (June 11, $30, ISBN 978-0-8021-6058-4) chronicles a ragtag band of British combat support staff’s victory over a Japanese force that intended to march through Burma and take India, recasting it as one of WWII’s most significant battles.


The Damascus Events: The 1860 Massacre and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Eugene Rogan (May 7, $32, ISBN 978-1-5416-0427-8) casts an outbreak of violence in 1860, when Muslims in Damascus slaughtered Syrian Christians, as a definitive break between the old Ottoman order and today’s Middle East.


Zhou Enlai: A Life by Jian Chen (May 7, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-674-65958-2) spotlights the first premier of the People’s Republic of China, who served as the country’s chief diplomat, head administrator, and spymaster, and who is said to have reined in Mao’s excesses.


Cunning Folk: Life in the Era of Practical Magic by Tabitha Stanmore (May 28, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-63973-053-7) provides a history of “practical magic” in 17th-century Europe, when practitioners known as “cunning folk” were regularly employed to solve problems ranging from retrieving lost items to stealing thrones. 80,000-copy announced first printing.

Bloomsbury Continuum

The Book of Secrets: A Personal History of Betrayal in Red China by Xinran Xue (Apr. 16, $35, ISBN 978-1-399-40668-0) profiles a military intelligence officer and his wife and children as they ascend the ranks of the Chinese Communist Party, until the family is torn apart by the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.


The Eagle in the Mirror: The Greatest Spy Story Never Told by Jesse Fink (May 21, $28, ISBN 978-0-8065-4368-0) investigates Dick Ellis, an Australian-born British intelligence agent who helped set up the Office of Strategic Services and controlled half of MI6, and who was later accused of being a Nazi spy.


When Women Ran Fifth Avenue: Glamour and Power at the Dawn of American Fashion by Julie Satow (June 4, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-385-54875-5) profiles three women who led American department stores through their midcentury golden age and shepherded women’s fashion from the career-oriented 1930s to the ultra-chic ’60s. 75,000-copy announced first printing.

Duke Univ.

A Wall Is Just a Wall: The Permeability of the Prison in the Twentieth-Century United States by Reiko Hillyer (Feb. 16, $29.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4780-3013-3) documents how, before the 1990s, prisoners were regularly released for holidays, wives could visit incarcerated men for days, and governors routinely commuted sentences.


Chamber Divers: The Untold Story of the D-Day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever by Rachel Lance (Apr. 16, $32, ISBN 978-0-593-18493-6) relates the previously classified story of the scientists who experimented on themselves to develop the underwater breathing and diving equipment needed to complete vital reconnaissance ahead of D-Day.

The Horse: A Galloping History of Humanity by Timothy C. Winegard (July 30, $35, ISBN 978-0-593-18608-4). The bestselling author of The Mosquito returns to outline the relationship between humanity and the horse, whose strength and speed shored up human power and achievement for millennia.

Europa Compass

The Art of Running: Learning to Run Like a Greek by Andrea Marcolongo, trans. by Will Schutt (Apr. 2, $18 trade paper, ISBN 979-8-88966-033-0). A classicist describes how teaching herself to run like an ancient Greek deepened her understanding of states of mind and philosophies with which she had long grappled.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When the Clock Broke: Con Men, Conspiracists, and How America Cracked Up in the Early 1990s by John Ganz (June 18, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-60544-5) surveys the rise in political polarization and extremism immediately following Reagan’s presidency, an era characterized by insurgent presidential campaigns, Rush Limbaugh’s talk radio, and an alienated middle class.

Grand Central

The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis by George Stephanopoulos (May 14, $35, ISBN 978-1-5387-4076-7) recounts high-stakes episodes in the White House Situation Room, including the moments after JFK was shot and the time Jimmy Carter asked secret government psychics to rescue hostages from Iran. 750,000-copy announced first printing.


The Black Antifascist Tradition: Fighting Back from Anti-Lynching to Abolition by Jeanelle K. Hope and Bill V. Mullen (Apr. 2, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 979-8-88890-094-9) tracks the global history of Black organizing against far-right forces, from Ida B. Wells’s antilynching activism through the anticolonial politics of such figures as Aimé Césaire and Walter Rodney.

Hurst & Co.

Unsuitable: A History of Lesbian Fashion by Eleanor Medhurst (June 1, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-80526-096-7) explores historical lesbian fashions, from top hats to violet tiaras, and argues that lesbian attire has too long been ignored by fashion and queer histories.


This Earthly Globe: A Venetian Geographer and the Race to Map the World by Andrea Di Robilant (June 18, $30, ISBN 978-0-307-59707-6) recounts the Renaissance-era publication of classified government reports that made detailed maps and analyses of Africa, Asia, and the Americas widely available to Europeans for the first time.

Little, Brown

Plentiful Country: The Great Potato Famine and the Making of Irish New York by Tyler Anbinder (Mar. 12, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-316-56480-9) documents the transformative impact of Irish potato famine refugees on New York City, noting that by 1855 a third of all adults in Manhattan were “Famine Irish.”


Medgar and Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story That Awakened America by Joy-Ann Reid (Feb. 6, $30, ISBN 978-0-06-306879-7) profiles married civil rights leaders Medgar and Myrlie Evers, using their love story as a lens to explore the civil rights movement and highlighting Medgar’s assassination in 1963 by the KKK as a catalyzing event.

Melville House

Rat City: Overcrowding and Urban Derangement in the Rodent Universes of John B. Calhoun by Jon Adams and Edmund Ramsden (Apr. 9, $32.50, ISBN 978-1-68589-099-5) relates how a psychologist’s experiments with rat labyrinths, which seemed to prove that overcrowding leads to societal breakdown, have influenced ideas about housing and human nature since the 1960s.


Beverly Hills Spy: The Double-Agent Flying Ace Who Helped Japan Attack Pearl Harbor by Ronald Drabkin (Feb. 13, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-331007-0) revisits the true story of Frederick Rutland, a WWI British pilot who, disgruntled by his class-motivated lack of promotion, became a spy for Japan in Hollywood.

New Press

Disrupted City: Walking the Pathways of Memory and History in Lahore by Manan Ahmed Asif (July 16, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-59558-907-1) traces the history of the Pakistani city, which for more than a millennium has been a cultural and intellectual epicenter, and recounts the author’s run-ins with storytellers and historians on the city’s streets.


Demand the Impossible: One Lawyer’s Pursuit of Equal Justice for All by Robert L. Tsai (Mar. 12, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-393-86783-1) profiles Stephen Bright, an attorney who provides legal aid to people on death row and has won four capital cases before the Supreme Court since the 1980s by exposing inequality within the justice system.

Liberty Equality Fashion: The Women Who Styled the French Revolution by Anne Higonnet (Apr. 16, $35, ISBN 978-0-393-86795-4) recasts Napoleon Bonaparte’s future consort Joséphine and two other women of the French Revolution as the first fashion celebrities.


The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions by Adam Kuper (Apr. 16, $35, ISBN 978-0-593-70067-9) charts the history of anthropological museums, from their origins as colonial projects that displayed items extracted from conquered cultures and promoted scientific racism, through recent attempts to repatriate looted objects.


The Pirate King: The Strange Adventures of Henry Avery and the Birth of the Golden Age of Piracy by Sean Kingsley and Rex Cowan (Apr. 2, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-63936-595-1) uncovers new revelations about the fate of folk hero Henry Avery, who pillaged a fortune off a Mughal ship in 1695 and then disappeared.

Penguin Press

The Black Box: Writing the Race by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Mar. 19, $30, ISBN 978-0-593-29978-4) distills the Harvard professor’s introductory course in African American studies, which traces the evolution of Black self-definition through the works of such writers as Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Princeton Univ.

Puerto Rico: A National History by Jorell Meléndez-Badillo (Apr. 2, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-23127-3) chronicles the history of Puerto Rico from pre-Columbian times, through multiple revolts against colonialism, and into the present, with a focus on the evolution of the islanders’ self-conception and ideas about nationhood.

Random House

Cue the Sun: The Invention of Reality TV by Emily Nussbaum (May 28, $30, ISBN 978-0-525-50899-1). The Pulitzer Prize–winning critic’s history of reality TV draws on extensive interviews to track the genre’s growth since the days of Candid Camera.

Native Nations: A Millennium in North America by Kathleen Duval (Apr. 9, $38, ISBN 978-0-525-51103-8) shows how the Native cultures with which Europeans made first contact possessed complex government, diplomatic, and economic structures that allowed them to manipulate global markets and world events via their European interlocutors.


My Brother, My Land: A Story from Palestine by Sami Hermez, with Sireen Siwalha (Mar. 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-5036-2839-7), recounts life under military occupation for Siwalha’s Palestinian family and how they grappled with the ethical tension of her brother’s participation in armed resistance during the first and second intifadas.


Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World by Patrick Joyce (Feb. 20, $30, ISBN 978-1-6680-3108-7) sheds light on the peasant way of life—the dominant mode of human experience for thousands of years until the recent global wave of urbanization—with a specific focus on the vanished European peasantry.

Simon & Schuster

Fat Leonard: The Con Man Who Corrupted the U.S. Navy by Craig Whitlock (May 17, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-3163-0). The bestselling author of The Afghanistan Papers unpacks a far-reaching corruption scandal of the 2000s and 2010s involving a Malaysian defense contractor who bribed high-ranking U.S. military officers and defrauded the Navy.

St. Martin’s

Opening Doors: The Unlikely Alliance Between the Irish and the Jews in America by Hasia R. Diner (July 30, $30, ISBN 978-1-250-24392-8) describes how Jewish and Irish Catholic immigrants allied with one another as religious outsiders to fight against discrimination in Protestant-dominated America at the turn of the 20th century.


Rings of Fire: How an Unlikely Team of Scientists, Ex-Cons, Women, and Native Americans Helped Win World War II by Larry J. Hughes (June 18, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-8117-7389-8) spotlights the unconventional team behind the invention and production of Polaroid’s Optical Ring Sight, which projected a bull’s-eye on the sky to aim Allied antiaircraft guns.

Stanford Univ.

Coca-Cola, Black Panthers, and Phantom Jets: Israel in the American Orbit, 1967–1973 by Oz Frankel (July 23, $35 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5036-3952-2) analyzes how in the 1960s Israel began to be shaped by increased exposure to American cultural and
governmental exports such as consumerism, the civil rights movement, and military funding.

Univ. of Minnesota

The Rocks Will Echo Our Sorrow: The Forced Displacement of the Northern Sámi by Elin Anna Labba, trans. by Fiona Graham (Feb. 13, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-5179-1330-4), draws on poetry and art to reflect on the forced relocation of the indigenous Sámi of Norway and Sweden more than 100 years ago.

Univ. of Pennsylvania

Black Elders: The Meaning of Age in American Slavery and Freedom by Frederick Knight (Feb. 2, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-5128-2566-4) probes the pivotal role that elders played in African American community-formation during slavery and Reconstruction and demonstrates how white and Black Americans developed diverging ideas about aging.


At the Edge of Empire: A Family’s Reckoning with China by Edward Wong (May 28, $30, ISBN 978-1-984877-40-6). The former New York Times Beijing bureau chief details his investigation into his father’s past as a member of Mao’s rebel army that eventually fled China during the repressive 1960s.

The War We Won Apart: The Untold Story of Two Elite Agents Who Became One of the Most Decorated Couples of WWII by Nahlah Ayed (June 4, $25, ISBN 978-0-7352-4206-7) narrates the tumultuous love story of two Allied spies operating behind enemy lines during WWII.

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