Staff Pick

Author, historian, speechwriter, and cartoonist Jeff Shesol has produced a masterpiece of narrative history, exploring how the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and particularly Project Mercury, defined the Cold War era. A review in The New York Times notes Shesol’s “extraordinary qualities as a storyteller,” showcasing his talent for character portraits and use of historical detail for context. Historian David Brinkley applauds Shesol for capturing the drama and tension surrounding the Mercury launch, adding that the book “has movie written all over it.” But until a movie comes out, please just read it! Shesol’s visual sensibilities as an artist and his literary flair leap off every page.

Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy, and the New Battleground of the Cold War Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324003243
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 1st, 2021

Staff Pick

As with a number of his previous books, former Washington Post journalist Michael Dobbs again portrays a president confronting a grave crisis. This time it’s Richard Nixon. Dobbs focuses on the 100 days after Nixon’s triumphant second inauguration, a period in which the president, having just been re-elected by one of the largest landslides in American history, found himself in the middle of a constitutional crisis. Over those weeks, key figures in the Watergate scandal began to confess, the cover-up started to unravel, and Nixon’s eventual downfall was set in motion. Making deft use of many hours of now-public White House tapes and other material, Dobbs brings to life the full tragedy of Nixon through scene-by-scene reconstructions that form a vivid, riveting, fast-paced, and illuminating narrative.

King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385350099
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf - May 25th, 2021

Staff Pick

Gordon-Reed’s brief yet panoramic survey of Texas history succeeds not only as scholarship and personal essay, but as a demonstration of how exposing the racism at the heart of the American saga can open fresh discussions and begin to heal painful legacies. Inserting her family history into the larger narrative that has excluded them, Gordon-Reed shows that being a Black Texan isn’t the contradiction in terms it might seem. In concise accounts of her state’s complicated relationships with the U.S., Mexico, and Indigenous peoples; its quest for independence; and the outsize figures who people its past—from Sam Houston and Jim Bowie to Quanah Parker, Iron Eyes Cody, and Billy Jack of the 1971 Loughlin film—Gordon-Reed expresses both affection for her difficuilt home and a historian’s faith that “observing the process of change over time”—such as the evolution of Juneteenth from private to public celebrations to a nationally recognized event, if not yet a national holiday—can positively affect the lives of the people living in its present and future. 



On Juneteenth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631498831
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Liveright - May 4th, 2021