Russia: Revolution and Civil War, 1917-1921 by Antony BeevorWhat it is: a sweeping and well-researched chronicle of the Russian Civil War, featuring firsthand accounts from people who lived through it.
Read it for: a vivid portrait of a devastating event whose impact still resonates throughout Eastern Europe.
Reviewers say: Prizewinning historian Antony Beevor's latest is "a definitive account" (Kirkus Reviews) that "illuminates the chaos and tragedy of Russian civil war" (Publishers Weekly).
By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow's Legal Executioners by Margaret A. BurnhamWhat it's about: how Jim Crow "blurred the lines between formal law and informal enforcement" in the 20th-century American South.
Why it matters: Drawing upon newspapers, transcripts, testimonies, and other legal documents, lawyer Margaret A. Burnham reveals the sobering stories behind the forgotten victims of racist violence.
About the author: Burnham is the founder and director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and a Senate-confirmed member of the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board.
Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future by Brandi Collins-DexterWhat it's about: how the Democratic Party alienates Black voters.
What's inside: an incisive and accessible mix of memoir, reportage, and pop culture analysis that explores how politicians' empty gestures have damaged their relationship with increasingly disillusioned constituents.
Book buzz: Black Skinhead was named one of "15 Works of Nonfiction to Read This Fall" by The New York Times.
Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America by Pekka HämäläinenWhat it is: a sweeping, revisionist North American history that centers Indigenous agency and resistance.
Why you should read it: Finnish scholar Pekka Hämäläinen's well-researched chronicle eschews traditional narratives that portray Native populations solely as colonized people doomed to extinction.
Try this next: For another compelling corrective to Eurocentric histories, read The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by Ojibwe historian David Treuer.
Bridge to the Sun: The Secret Role of the Japanese Americans Who Fought in the... by Bruce HendersonWhat it is: a richly detailed history that spotlights the role Japanese American soldiers played in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Read it for: a moving chronicle of wartime courage in the face of racism both at home and abroad.
Further reading: Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown.
Focus on: Native American Heritage Month
The lost world of the Old Ones : discoveries in the ancient Southwest
by David Roberts
For more than 5,000 years the Ancestral Puebloans--Native Americans who flourished long before the first contact with Europeans--occupied the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. Just before AD 1300, they abandoned their homeland in a migration that remains one of prehistory's greatest puzzles.
Northern and southern neighbors of the Ancestral Puebloans, the Fremont and Mogollon likewise flourished for millennia before migrating or disappearing. Fortunately, the Old Ones, as some of their present-day descendants call them, left behind awe-inspiring ruins, dazzling rock art, and sophisticated artifacts ranging from painted pots to woven baskets.
Some of their sites and relics had been seen by no one during the 700 years before David Roberts and his companions rediscovered them.
In The Lost World of the Old Ones, Roberts continues the hunt for answers begun in his classic book.
His new findings paint a different, fuller portrait of these enigmatic ancients--thanks to the breakthroughs of recent archaeologists. Roberts also recounts his last twenty years of far-flung exploits in the backcountry with the verve of a seasoned travel writer.
His adventures range across Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado, illuminating the mysteries of the Old Ones as well as of the more recent Navajo and Comanche.
Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane MurdochStarring: Arikara freelance investigator Lissa Yellow Bird, who lives and works on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
What it's about: In 2012, Fort Berthold truck driver Kristopher Clarke disappeared. Yellow Bird took up the cause to find him, seeking redemption for her own troubled past along the way.
Why you should read it: Sierra Crane Murdoch's Pulitzer Prize finalist illuminates the impact of violence and neglect on tribal communities.
Wilma Mankiller : how one woman united the Cherokee Nation and helped change the face of America
by D. J. Herda
Wilma Pearl Mankiller's great-grandfather had survived the deadly forced westward march of Native Americans known as the "Trail of Tears."
She rose to lead the Cherokee Nation more than 150 years later as principal chief, the first elected female chief of a Native nation in modern times.
Throughout her reign from 1985-1995, cut short only by her own severe health challenges, she advocated for extensive community development, self-help, and education and healthcare programs that revitalized the Nation of 300,000 citizens.
Wilma Mankiller will continue to shine as an inspirational example of the faith in her belief that ethnicity should never be forgotten--nor come before family unity, society, and country.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David TreuerWhat it is: a vivid 125-year history of Native America that details the ways that tribes have survived -- and thrived -- in the face of adversity.
About the author: David Treuer is an Ojibwe novelist and historian who grew up on Minnesota's Leech Lake Indian Reservation.
Reviewers say: Treuer's National Book Award finalist is "a welcome modern rejoinder to classics such as God is Red and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (Kirkus Reviews).
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