His wife and their children evacuated New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina swept the Gulf Coast, but Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born contractor, stayed behind to look after his house and those he was working on. When the storm had passed and floods inundated his city, Zeitoun believed he was meant to help as many people as he could.  Eventually, though, he was arrested on an unspecified charge and taken to a makeshift jail where his pleas for understanding and justice were met with indifference and mistrust. Dave Eggers’s Zeitoun (McSweeney’s, $24) is a gripping piece of narrative non-fiction, recounting just one personal story in a disaster that affected millions of people.  Zeitoun’s story of altruism countered by prejudice and violence, though, is one all too representative of our recent history.

Zeitoun Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307387943
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - June 15th, 2010

Taylor Branch played Boswell to President Bill Clinton in The Clinton Tapes (Simon & Schuster, $35). Because of Nixon’s experience with taping, Clinton did not want to have conversations taped in the oval office. Instead, he asked Taylor Branch to come to the White House periodically so that Branch could record Clinton’s reflections during his eight years as President. The book comes from the reminiscences that Taylor himself recorded after each meeting. (President Clinton kept the tapes.) As with anything involving Bill Clinton, this book is fun to read. Taylor has done a fine job of reminding us about the accomplishments and the frustrations of the Clinton presidency.  There is a trove of material, and wherever you turn in the book, you find interesting observations.

The Clinton Tapes: Conversations with a President, 1993-2001 Cover Image
$40.99
ISBN: 9781416543343
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 1st, 2010

Gordon Wood, a master historian whose accomplishments have been honored with both Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes, revisits the first twenty-five years of the newborn republic, 1789-1815, in his monumental study, Empire Of Liberty (Oxford Univ., $35). Throughout the narrative Wood reminds readers that there was no compelling reason why this precarious state would become a flourishing democracy.  “Momentous uncertainties” proliferated in what was, after all, an experiment with untested political principles. Given such risks, we can only admire the magnitude of the founders’ achievements all the more.

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) Cover Image
$39.95
ISBN: 9780195039146
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 1st, 2009

Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780199832460
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 1st, 2011

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