Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson - David S. Reynolds

David Reynolds, a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, won the Bancroft Prize in American History for Walt Whitman’s America.   His new book, Waking Giant (HarperCollins, $29.95), looks beyond the Jackson presidency to the social and cultural movements of the years between 1815 and 1848.  Reynolds argues that this era is the richest in American history—a bold assertion, but his narrative of this brash and bumptious period, rife  with social ferment and literary and artistic flourishing, well supports his claim.  The elitist Anglophiles from the Hamilton and Adams years were pushed out, and in came the excesses of the gambler and duelist Henry Clay and a president, Andrew Jackson, whose chest was pockmarked from bullets taken in brawls and duels.  In the background throughout this period were ominous rumblings from the southern states, which would burst into the foreground in the savagery of the Civil War.

Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (American History) By David S. Reynolds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060826574
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - September 29th, 2009

Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History - Ted Sorensen

Ted Sorensen waited 35 years to write Counselor (HarperCollins, $27.95). His personal account of the Kennedy White House is an absorbing and revelatory memoir about a young, shy, abstemious intellectual from Nebraska who became JFK’s close advisor. Although Sorensen’s official title was Special Counsel to the President, his duties extended further. His superb speechwriting skills were so frequently called upon that Theodore White gave Sorensen credit for “many of Kennedy’s finest thoughts and expressions.”  Sorensen notes that his portrait of Kennedy as an honest, idealistic president devoted to the best values of this country stands in harsh contrast to American politics today, an arena filled with cynicism and mistrust.  As Kennedy’s wordsmith expresses it,  “The damage done to this country by its own misconduct in the last few months and years, to its very heart and soul, is far greater and longer lasting than any damage that any terrorist could possibly inflict upon us.”

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ISBN: 9780060798727
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - May 5th, 2009

Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell follows the fascinating sociology of The Tipping Point and Blink with Outliers (Little, Brown, $27.99). Defining “outliers” as people who do extraordinary things, Gladwell maintains that we consistently misunderstand the reasons for their achievements, reversing the relevant and the irrelevant in explanations for such phenomena as star soccer players or high-achieving Asian math students. How could Townsend Harris public high school in Manhattan, in forty years, produce three Nobel Prize winners, six Pulitzer Prize winners, and one Supreme Court Justice, as well as George Gershwin and Jonas Salk? A conventional mind might attribute the feat to high-quality teaching, but the true reasons lie outside the schoolyard.  An Italian immigrant community in Pennsylvania boasts a death rate for heart disease that is half that of the rest of the United States.  An ordinary doctor might compile information on diet, exercise, and genes, but a medical outlier discovered the real reason for this population’s health, and it was one not found in medical textbooks.  Gladwell documents how conventional thinking can be corrected by looking beyond the seemingly obvious.

Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316017930
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - June 7th, 2011