Tag Archives: American history

Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld

SubversivesSubversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power
Seth Rosenfeld
Picador Paperback
On sale: July 23

For a review copy (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Seth Rosenfeld, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com.

Winner of the Ridenhour Book Prize

PRAISE FOR SUBVERSIVES
Subversives has a powerful story to tell about the vanity and stupidity of political leaders of any persuasion who squander public resources spying on personal enemies…and the frightening weakness of the laws designed to restrain their authority.”—Matt Taibbi, The New York Times Book Review

“Crucial history. It’s also a warning….Rosenfeld has an agenda in this book of patience and passion: setting straight a previously hidden—and consequential—record….Chilling.”The Christian Science Monitor

“A well-written, dramatic narrative on Berkeley in the 1960s containing many scoops…Significant.”The Wall Street Journal

“Masterfully researched…A potent reminder of the explosiveness of 1960s politics and how far elements of the government were (and perhaps still are) willing to go to undermine civil liberties.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Narrative nonfiction at its best.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

ABOUT SUBVERSIVES
Part history, part biography, and part police procedural, SUBVERSIVES is a fresh look at the legacy of the sixties and a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power.

SUBVERSIVES traces the FBI’s secret involvement with three iconic figures at Berkeley during the 1960s: the ambitious neophyte politician Ronald Reagan, the fierce but fragile radical Mario Savio, and the liberal university president Clark Kerr. Through their converging narratives, the award-winning investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld tells a dramatic and disturbing story of FBI surveillance, illegal break-ins, infiltration, planted news stories, poison-pen letters, and secret detention lists.

The FBI spent more than one million dollars trying to block the release of the secret files on which SUBVERSIVES is based. This is an extraordinary view of what the government was up to during a turning point in our nation’s history.

ABOUT SETH ROSENFELD
SETH ROSENFELD
was for many years an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, where his article about the FBI and the Free Speech Movement won seven national awards.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Cover image for download
Visit Seth Rosenfeld’s website
Watch Seth Rosenfeld on Democracy Now!
Listen to Seth on Fresh Air

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Filed under Current Events / Politics, History

Fall 2013

Here are the books I am working on this fall. To request review copies or to inquire about an interview with the authors, please email me at gabrielle.gantz [@] picadorusa.com.

SEPTEMBER

OutrageTitle: Outrage
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
Format: Paperback
On Sale: August 27, 2013

Haunted by personal demons, Detective Erlendur decides to take a short leave of absence, putting his female assistant, Elínborg, in charge while he is gone. When a disturbing case lands on her desk, Elínborg is quickly thrust into a world of violent crime. A serial rapist is on the loose, and the clock is ticking as the police race to catch him before he strikes again.

ARNALDUR INDRIÐASON won the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Silence of the Grave and is the only author to win the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel two years in a row, for Jar City and Silence of the Grave.

My Heart is an IdiotTitle: My Heart is an Idiot
Author: Davy Rothbart
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 2, 2013

Davy Rothbart is looking for love in all the wrong places. Constantly. He falls helplessly in love with pretty much every girl he meets—and rarely is the feeling reciprocated. Time after time, he hops in a car and tears across half of America with his heart on his sleeve. He’s continually coming up with outrageous schemes, which he always manages to pull off. Well, almost always. But even when things don’t work out, Rothbart finds meaning and humor in every moment. Whether it’s humiliating a scammer who takes money from aspiring writers or playing harmless (but side-splitting) goofs on his deaf mother, nothing and no one is off limits.

DAVY ROTHBART is a frequent contributor to This American Life and a variety of magazines, the founder of Found Magazine and the editor of its various bestselling anthologies, and the author of The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas. Learn more about his book here

OCTOBER

Mr Penumbra 24-Hour BookstoreTitle: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 24, 2013

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco Web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few and never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Clay concludes the store must be a front for something larger and engineers a complex analysis of the clientele’s behavior with the help of his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

ROBIN SLOAN grew up in Michigan and now splits his time between San Francisco and the Internet. You can find him online here

Rise to GreatnessTitle: The Rise to Greatness
Author: David Von Drehle
Format: Paperback
On Sale: September 24, 2013

As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death’s door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union’s top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy—with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield—had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president.

Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned. The Union generals who would win the war had at last emerged, and the Confederate Army had suffered the key losses that would lead to its doom. The blueprint of modern America—an expanding colossus of industrial and financial might—had been indelibly inked. And the man who brought the nation through its darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln, had been forged into a singular leader.

In Rise to Greatness, acclaimed author David Von Drehle has created both a deeply human portrait of America’s greatest president and a rich, dramatic narrative about our most fateful year.

DAVID VON DREHLE is the author of three previous books, including the award-winning Triangle, an account of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire that The New York Times called “social history at its best.” He is an editor-at-large at Time magazine.

Listen to David discuss his book on The Diane Rehm Show

Cursing Mommy's Book of DaysTitle: Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days
Author: Ian Frazier
Format: Paperback
On Sale: October 1, 2013

Based on his widely read columns for The New Yorker, Ian Frazier’s uproarious first novel, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days, centers on a profoundly memorable character, sprung from an impressively fertile imagination. Structured as a daybook of sorts, the book follows the Cursing Mommy—beleaguered wife of Larry and mother of two young boys—as she offers tips on how to do various tasks around the home, only to end up on the ground, cursing, surrounded by broken glass. Her voice is somewhere between Phyllis Diller’s and Sylvia Plath’s: a hilariously desperate housewife with a taste for swearing and large glasses of red wine, who speaks to the frustrations of everyday life.

IAN FRAZIER is the author of Great Plains, The Fish’s Eye, On the Rez, Family, and Travels in Siberia, as well as Coyote v. Acme, Dating Your Mom, and Lamentations of the Father, all published by FSG. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. You can find his New Yorker columns here

NOVEMBER

History of BritainTitle: A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps
Author: Chris West
Format: Hardcover
On Sale: October 22, 2013

Hailed by The Times of London as “a splendid reminder of the philatelic glories of the past,” this unique book tells the breathtaking history of Britain through thirty-six of its fascinating, beautiful, and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes, and styles of their time. Through them, one can glimpse the whole epic tale of an empire unfolding. From the famous Penny Black, printed two years after Queen Victoria’s coronation, to the Victory! Stamp of 1946, anticipating the struggle of postwar reconstruction—A History of Britain in Thirty-six Postage Stamps is hugely entertaining and idiosyncratic romp, told in Chris West’s lively prose.

CHRIS WEST has written widely in a variety of genres. His titles include a bestselling business guide, and a quartet of crime novels. He inherited a love of history from his father and an Edwardian “Lincoln” stamp album from his great uncle as a child. His love for stamps was revived when he found that same dust-covered album in his attic as an adult.

Fun StuffTitle: The Fun Stuff
Author: James Wood
Format: Paperback
On Sale: October 22, 2013

With The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works, James Wood established himself as the leading critic of his generation. The Fun Stuff confirms his preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as one of fiction’s most ardent appreciators. In these twenty-three sparkling dispatches—which range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Edmund Wilson—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, and Aleksandar Hemon. From the brilliant title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming to Wood’s incisive piece on the writings of George Orwell, The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.

JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God. You can find his New Yorker archive here

Detroit City Is the Place to BeTitle: Detroit City is the Place to Be
Author: Mark Binelli
Format: Paperback
On Sale: November 5, 2013

Once America’s capitalist dream town, Detroit is our country’s greatest urban failure, having fallen the longest and the farthest. But the city’s worst crisis yet (and that’s saying something) has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory for the future. Urban planners, land speculators, neopastoral agriculturalists, and utopian environmentalists—all have been drawn to Detroit’s baroquely decaying, nothing-left-to-lose frontier.

With an eye for the darkly absurd and the radically new, Detroit-area native Mark Binelli has chronicled this convergence. Throughout the city’s “museum of neglect”—its swaths of abandoned buildings, its miles of urban prairie—he tracks both the blight and the signs of its repurposing, from the school for pregnant teenagers to a beleaguered UAW local; from metal scrappers and gun-toting vigilantes to organic farming and GM’s risky wager on the Volt electric car.

Sharp and impassioned, Detroit City Is the Place to Be is alive with the sense of possibility that comes when a city hits rock bottom. Beyond the usual portrait of crime, poverty, and ruin, we glimpse a longshot future Detroit that is smaller, less segregated, greener, economically diverse, and better functioning—what could be the boldest reimagining of a post-industrial city in our new century.

MARK BINELLI is the author of the novel Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die! and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. You can find Mark online here

DECEMBER

NostradamusTitle: Nostradamus
Author: Stéphane Gerson
Format: Paperback
On Sale: November 26, 2013

Who was Nostradamus? In this new biography, historian Stéphane Gerson takes readers back in time to explore the life and afterlife of Michel de Nostredame, the astrologer whose Prophecies have been transformed into today’s Gospel of Doom. Whenever we enter a new era, Nostradamus offers certainty and solace. In 1666, guests at posh English dinner parties discussed his quatrain about the Great Fire of London. In 1942, Irène Némirovsky latched her hopes for survival to Nostradamus’s prediction that the war would soon end. And on September 12, 2001, Brooklyn teenagers proclaimed that “this guy, Nostradamus” had seen 9/11 coming. Through prodigious research in European and American archives, Gerson chronicles the life of this mystifying figure and our lasting fascination with his predictions.

STÉPHANE GERSON is a cultural historian of modern France and the editor of a new edition of Nostradamus’s Prophecies for Penguin Classics. He teaches French history at New York University

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Desert America: A Journey Through Our Most Divided Landscape by Rubén Martínez

Desert AmericaDesert America: A Journey Through Our Most Divided Landscape
Rubén Martínez
Picador Paperback
On sale: June 25

For a review copy (US and Canada only), or to schedule an interview with Rubén Martínez, please email gabrielle.gantz [at] picadorusa.com.

PRAISE FOR DESERT AMERICA
“It’s hard to imagine a more engaging and illuminating chronicle of the contemporary West….A nuanced, conflicted, poetic meditation on an endlessly elusive subject.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Deeply moving and insightful…A memoir that also manages to be an excellent work of reportage… Martínez treats all the people he writes about, and the places where they live, with the kind of profound respect all too rare among the legions of Western writers who have preceded him. The result is an emotional and intellectually astute portrait of communities long neglected and misunderstood by American literature.”Los Angeles Times

“A compelling and daring book, one filled with equal parts confession, history, and politics…Desert America will challenge every idea you may have formed about life and death in our Western deserts.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

ABOUT DESERT AMERICA
The economic boom—and the devastation left in its wake—was writ nowhere as large as on the American West. Over the past decade, the most iconic of American landscapes has undergone a political and demographic upheaval comparable only to the opening of the frontier. In DESERT AMERICA, a work of powerful reportage and memoir, acclaimed author Rubén Martínez explores a world of extremes: drug addiction flourishing in the shadow of some of America’s richest zip codes, an exclusive Texas enclave that coexists with bloodshed on the banks of the Rio Grande, and Native Americans hunting down Mexican migrants crossing the most desolate stretch of the border.

DESERT AMERICA details Martinez’s own love for this most contested region and reveals that the great frontier is now in the forefront of the vast disparities that are redefining the very idea of America.

ABOUT RUBEN MARTINEZ
Rubén Martínez, an Emmy-winning journalist and poet, is the author of Crossing Over and The New Americans. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University.

MORE INFORMATION
Cover image for download
Visit Rubén Martínez’s website

ALSO AVAILABLE
Crossing OverCrossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail
Now with a new afterword
Picador Paperback
On sale: June 25

PRAISE FOR CROSSING OVER
“Beautifully written and important…Martínez shows us how ‘America’ is being reimagined by its uninvited, its disrespected, its invisible, and he shows us that they will change us, whether we like it or not.”Los Angeles Times

“To read Crossing Over is to read the story of America, to understand the dynamic that renews the strength of the American Dream….Martínez has depicted a deep, enduring commonality that may change the way we understand immigration”Chicago Tribune

“Martínez’s portrait is a rich counterpoint to the simple patterns a demographer might draw.”The New York Times Book Review

ABOUT CROSSING OVER
The U.S.-Mexican border is one of the most permeable boundaries in the world, breached daily by Mexicans in search of work. Yet the migrant gambit is perilous. Thousands die crossing the line and those who reach “the other side” are branded illegals, undocumented and unprotected.

In CROSSING OVER, Ruben Martinez puts a human face on the phenomenon, following the exodus of the Chávez clan, an extended Mexican family with the grim distinction of having lost three sons in a tragic border incident. He charts the migrants’ progress from their small south-Mexican town of Cherán through the harrowing underground railroad to the tomato farms of Missouri, the strawberry fields of California, and the slaughterhouses of Wisconsin. He reveals the effects of immigration on the family left behind and offers a powerful portrait of migrant culture, an exchange that deposits hip hop in Indian villages while bringing Mexican pop to the northern plains. Far from joining the melting pot, Martinez argues, the migrants–as many as seven million in the U.S.–are spawning a new culture that will alter both countries as Latin America and the U.S. come increasingly to resemble each other.

MORE INFORMATION
Cover image for download

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The Girls of Murder City

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
Penguin Paperback / On Sale: July 26, 2011

The Girls of Murder City spans several categories—true-crime, comedy, social history. It turns out that behind ‘Chicago’ there was a sexy, swaggering, historical tale in no need of a soundtrack. Liked the movie. Loved the book.”
—The Wall Street Journal

“For true crime buffs, history fans or anyone interested in the roaring 1920s, this one’s a sure-fire hit.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[A] well-researched, fast-paced story behind the story.”
Booklist

“Entertaining…wised up…savvy, flamboyant social history”
Publishers Weekly

“Perry takes a sturdy foundation of murder, sex and Chicago’s scandal-happy newspapers and builds a nonfiction marvel. His bouncy, exuberant prose perfectly complements the theatricality of the proceedings, and he deftly maneuvers away from the main story without ever losing momentum . . . The Girls of Murder City not only illustrates the origins of a new media monster, but reminds us that we’ve
never been that innocent.”
BookPage

“Recaptures a moment in which the Victorian feminine ideal was (and wasn’t) giving way to the “churning change” of the flapper lifestyle — and ebulliently elucidates the emergence of the criminal as celebrity. It’s this summer’s “not guilty” pleasure.”
—NPR, Books We Like

From Al Capone to Leopold and Loeb, the history of Prohibition-era Chicago violence is the stuff of legend. But what of the fairer sex? On the bookshelf beside SIN IN THE SECOND CITY and THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, Douglas Perry has recreated the glamour, intensity, and notoriety of this iconic time and place in The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago. Fueled by rich period detail, a narrative voice that perfectly channels the pulse of Jazz Age Chicago, and a cast of characters that seem destined for the stage, Perry has written a crackling history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

Why did you write The Girls of Murder City?
Douglas Perry: Because no one else had. When I first saw Chicago: The Musical, back in the late ’90s, I read in the playbill that Maurine Watkins had based the original play on actual murder trials she covered for the Chicago Tribune in 1924. I expected to be able to find a book about the real events but none existed. This surprised me because the real story is so amazing. It has beautiful women, wanton sex, cold-blooded murder, all-consuming corruption, devastating heartbreak. Even Al Capone and Leopold and Loeb make appearances.

For More Information:
Press Release
Cover Image for Download (Paperback edition)
Q&A with Douglas Perry

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Mary Chesnut’s Diary

Mary Chesnut’s Diary by Mary Boykin Chesnut with an introduction from Catherine Clinton
Penguin Classics / On Sale: April  26, 2011

Considered one of the best accounts of the Civil War from the Southern perspective, Mary Chesnut’s Diary, written between 1861 and 1865 narrates the Confederate perspective of the Civil War from the very first shots of battle in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886) was born into a well-connected South Carolina planter family and attended an exclusive Charleston French boarding school for girls before her marriage at seventeen to James Chesnut, Jr. In 1858, when her husband became the U.S. Senator from South Carolina, she relished her role as society hostess in Washington.

Catherine Clinton (Introduction and Further Reading) is an American historian. She currently holds a chair in U.S. history at Queen’s University Belfast where she heads a postgraduate program in American history.

For More Information:
Press Release
Cover Image for Download 

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