History and Current Events
In My Father's House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family by Fox ButterfieldWhat it's about: Using a case study of the white Bogle family of Oregon (more than 60 of whom have been arrested since 1920), this eye-opening saga of criminal genealogy reveals a sobering reality -- five percent of all families account for almost half the crime in America.
Why it matters: Timely and thought-provoking, In My Father's House interrogates long-held stereotypes linking race to crime, offering an empathetic approach to recognizing crime theories based on family dynamics.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim (editor)What it is: a stirring anthology of candid contributions from 21 black women writers (including Tayari Jones, Morgan Jerkins, Gabourey Sidibe, Jesmyn Ward, and Jacqueline Woodson) that celebrates the transformative power of being seen in literature.
Don't miss: Kaitlyn Greenidge's "Books for a Black Girl's Soul," which includes recommendations for "A Book To Read When You Wish You Could Pack It All In and Just Be Missy Elliott," among others.
The Age of Walls: How Barriers Between Nations Are Changing Our World by Tim MarshallWhat it is: a sweeping survey of how physical barriers between countries shape political discourse and international relations.
Reviewers say: "This enlightening, shrewd assessment of the walls that separate us proves that there is actually far more that unites us" (Booklist).
Further reading: Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick by David Frye.
LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. BrookingWhat it's about: how extremists and authoritarian regimes manipulate social media platforms to serve as "battlespaces" for political disputes, leading to trolling, disinformation, and memetic warfare.
Did you know? ISIS' recruiting tactics include mimicking the authentic feel of Taylor Swift's Instagram posts.
About the authors: Defense experts P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking are a contributing editor for Popular Science and a former research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, respectively.
The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King --The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War... by Walter R. BornemanWhat it's about: the first -- and so far, only -- five star fleet admirals in United States Navy history (Chester Nimitz, William Halsey, William Leahy, and Ernest King) and how their accomplishments during World War II made the U.S. a dominant sea power.
Making rank: Each commander played a key role in rebuilding the U.S. Naval fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor and, despite persistent rivalry, all four worked together to destroy the Axis fleets.
Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay DolinWhat it is: an engaging history of lighthouses, the "national treasures" that have served as the sites of numerous political, economic, military, and technological developments since the first American lighthouse was built in 1716 in Boston.
Featuring: stories of heroic lighthouse keepers, including Ida Lewis (1842-1911), who saved 18 people during her 54-year tenure as keeper of Lime Rock in Newport, Rhode Island.
The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg GrandinWhat it's about: In 1804, Amasa Delano, a sea captain with abolitionist sympathies, found the slave ship Tryal in distress off the coast of Chile. Discovering that the 70 enslaved West Africans aboard had revolted (killing many of the crew and taking the ship's captain hostage), Delano reacted with swift violence against the mutineers.
Is it for you? Dramatic and thought-provoking, this gripping history examines the disturbing hypocrisy of the newly "free" Colonial America.
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don YaegerWhat it's about: the beginning of the Barbary Wars, instigated in 1801 when the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay ransom to the Barbary States for captured American merchant ships.
Why you might like it: Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaegar's lively, suspenseful prose offers a page-turning adventure.
Try this next: For another accessible history of the First Barbary War, check out The Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks.
The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln PaineWhat it is: an ambitious expedition along the earth's oceans, lakes, and rivers that illuminates the remarkable ways in which world history has been shaped by waterways.
Topics include: how Viking expeditions impacted cultural exchange; the influence of religion on maritime law.
Reviewers say: "an invaluable resource for salty dogs and landlubbers alike" (Publishers Weekly).
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