The epic film Birth of a Nation transfixed the American public in 1915. Its depiction of the Civil War illustrated a unified modern American identity, tied to white Protestant militarism. Jackson Lear’s Rebirth Of A Nation (Harper Perennial, $15.99) traces how the memory of the Civil War inspired a country to glorify violence as a means to progress. Lear links the personal to the political—individuals worked to purify themselves for the good of the nation, and each political struggle determined the moral compass of that nation. This revitalized identity grew into a sense of global crusade, mobilizing Americans to expand overseas. While the violence of modern warfare in World War I may have shaken faith in positive military intervention, Lear’s concept of rebirth continues to echo in American politics and foreign engagements today.

Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 (American History) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060747503
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Harper Perennial - June 8th, 2010

Jill Jonnes revisits the 1889 World’s Fair to chronicle the construction of Eiffel’s Tower (Penguin, $16). Her fluid reportage, knowing navigation of the period’s social standards, and clear presentation of the political gamesmanship that goes into the creation of a national symbol make for an amusing and charming narrative. While luminaries such as Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, Paul Gauguin, and James McNeill Whistler enjoyed the sights, the Tower rose amid disputes over the project’s expense, its time frame, and the building’s artistic value. Yet Eiffel defied the odds and built a monument to Paris that would withstand the test of time.

Eiffel's Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117292
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - April 27th, 2010

Making Toast (Ecco, $21.99), by Roger Rosenblatt, is a beautiful but heartbreaking account of grandparents who move in with their grandchildren and son-in-law after the unexpected death of their daughter.  They must balance the management of their grief with the need to carve out a new life in a household far more chaotic than the one they had envisioned for their golden years.  But because this is a home with young children, there are also moments of humor and wonder, and the reader is left with feelings of hope and joy.  In this tender story, Rosenblatt celebrates the life of his beloved daughter, the strength of family, and the satisfaction of being able to do a job really well.

Making Toast: A Family Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061825958
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - February 15th, 2011