In one of this year’s outstanding works of American history, Tony Horwitz recognizes the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry with Midnight Rising (Holt, $29), an absorbing portrait of that revolutionary firebrand. Brown was born into a strict fundamentalist and abolitionist family (his father was an early trustee of the radical new Ohio college, Oberlin) that was never financially secure. Intensely idealistic but domineering and uncompromising, Brown embraced terrorist tactics and finally engaged in a retaliatory massacre in his fight against slavery, carrying out an unrealistic plan to overpower the pro-slavery American government with a force of nineteen men. At the ensuing trial, the verdict was a foregone conclusion, but Horwitz tells the story with dramatic tension; Brown, described by Julia Ward Howe as a “holy and glorious” martyr, was unrepentant, and you can’t help having mixed feelings—or even reaching for the Kleenex—as Brown climbs to the gallows.

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429263
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - August 7th, 2012

The world into which Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things was reborn in 1417 felt threatened by the ideas expressed there. But The Swerve (W.W. Norton, $26.95) history took in this event, from a God-centered to a material conception of the universe, influenced subsequent thinkers and changed the course of Western culture. In his riveting and suspenseful story of those ideas and their rediscovery, the eminent scholar Stephen Greenblatt, author of the popular Will in the World, recounts how Poggio Bracciolini, a canny and ruthless papal apparatchik, but also an intrepid book hunter with exquisite handwriting, found the only surviving copy of this classical masterpiece secreted in a remote German monastery. Greenblatt, himself heir to the humanistic turn effected by the surfacing of On the Nature of Things, has made narrative central to our understanding of literature and culture and unfailingly finds anecdotes that catch the reflected light of an entire cosmos.

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393064476
Availability: Backordered
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 26th, 2011

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393343403
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 4th, 2012

In this engrossing narrative about World War I, Adam Hochschild writes vividly not just about the politicians, generals, and propagandists who pushed for war. He also chronicles the stories of a number of civilians and soldiers who waged a principled if unsuccessful antiwar struggle. To End all Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28) portrays the rush to battle and the inability to stop it as the product largely of entrenched mindsets. He compellingly contrasts the passions and principles of the dissenters with the deeply embedded commitment to war and empire of the war-makers and the majority of the population. 

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547750316
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Mariner Books - March 6th, 2012