New on the Shelves at Albert Wisner Public Library: Non-Fiction & Biography
New adult and children's materials that are in high demand or which have received critical acclaim.
NON-FICTION TITLES OF PARTICULAR INTEREST
- Everybody Come Alive byISBN: 9780593443729Publication Date: 2023-05-30A dazzling memoir that explores what it means to become fully alive and holy when we embrace the silenced stories we've inherited; In her debut book, “Everybody Come Alive,” Marcie Alvis Walker invites readers into a deeply intimate and illuminating memoir comprising lyrical essays and remembrances of being a curious child of the seventies and eighties, raised under the critical and watchful eye of Jim Crow matriarchs who struggled to integrate their lives and remain whole. While swimming in rivers of racial trauma and racial reckoning, Alvis Walker explores her earliest memories of abandonment and erasure, of her mother's mental illness and incarceration, and of her ongoing struggles with perfectionism and body dysmorphia in hopes of leaving a healed and whole legacy for her own child. Nostalgic but unflinching, candid yet tender, the memoir is an invitation to be vulnerable along with her as she unravels all the beauty and terror of God, race, and gender's imprint on her life. This is a coming-of-age journey touching on the bittersweet pain and joy of what it takes to become a person who embraces being Black, a woman, and holy in America.
- Fatherland byISBN: 9780385353984Publication Date: 2023-05-02As a boy growing up in Oklahoma, Burkhard Bilger often heard his parents tell stories about the Germany of their youth; his parents were born in 1935 and had lived through the Second World War, but those stories, vivid as they were, had strange omissions. His mother was a historian, yet she rarely talked about her father's relationship to the Nazis, or his role in the war. Then one day a packet of letters arrived from Germany, yellowed with age, and a secret history began to unfold. Karl Gönner was an elementary school teacher and father of four when the war began. In 1940, he was posted to a village in Alsace, in occupied France, and ordered to reeducate its children - to turn them into proper Germans. He was a loyal Nazi when he arrived, but as the war went on his allegiance wavered. According to some villagers, he risked his life shielding them from his own party's brutalities. According to others, he ruled the village with an iron fist. After the war, Gönner was charged with giving an order that led police to beat a local farmer to death. Was he guilty or innocent? A war criminal or just an ordinary man, struggling to do right from within a monstrous regime? “Fatherland” is Bilger's nearly 10-year quest to uncover the truth.
- Birchers byISBN: 9781541673564Publication Date: 2023-03-21How a notorious far right organization set the Republican Party on a long march toward extremism; at the height of the John Birch Society's activity in the 1960’s, critics dismissed its members as a paranoid fringe. After all, "Birchers" believed that a vast communist conspiracy existed in America and posed an existential threat to Christianity, capitalism, and freedom. But as historian Matthew Dallek reveals, the Birch Society's extremism remade American conservatism. Most Birchers were white professionals who were radicalized as growing calls for racial and gender equality appeared to upend American life. Conservative leaders recognized that these affluent voters were needed to win elections, and for decades the GOP courted Birchers and their extremist successors. The far right steadily gained power, finally toppling the Republican establishment and electing Donald Trump. “Birchers” is a deeply researched and indispensable new account of the rise of extremism in the United States.
- Safe, Wanted, and Loved byISBN: 9781736417225Publication Date: 2021-05-04"Pat, we need to kill the dog." A chill ran down Patrick Dylan's spine as his wife spoke-psychosis had found their family again. When a sudden mental illness struck his wife, Patrick Dylan found himself living with an eerie stranger. Scared and unprepared, he began a desperate battle to protect her from a mysterious disease, shelter their children from her bizarre behavior, and recover the woman he loved. For years, Patrick and Mia Dylan enjoyed an intimate marriage that exemplified partnership. They worked together to create a loving home for their two children, enjoyed a close relationship with their extended family, and offered mutual support during hard times. But on the morning of Mia's thirty-ninth birthday, everything changed. Within weeks, she had been admitted to the emergency room, the hospital, and the local crisis facility, but none of the experts could provide an answer. As her illness eluded diagnosis, the family's struggle was only beginning. A brave memoir and a compassionate, honest, and gripping account of a family navigating mental illness.
- Go Back and Get It byISBN: 9781645030133Publication Date: 2023-04-04An unexpected family photograph leads Dionne Ford to uncover the stories of her enslaved female ancestors, reclaim their power, and begin to heal; Countless Black Americans descended from slavery are related to the enslavers who bought and sold their ancestors. Among them is Dionne Ford, whose great grandmother was the last of six children born to a Louisiana cotton broker and the enslaved woman he received as a wedding gift. What shapes does this kind of intergenerational trauma take? In these pages, which move between her inner life and deep research, Ford tells us. It manifests as alcoholism and post-traumatic stress; it finds echoes in her own experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a relative, and in the ways in which she builds her own interracial family. To heal, Ford tries a wide range of therapies, lifestyle changes, and recovery meetings. "Anything," she writes, "to keep from going back there." But what she learns is that she needs to go back there, to return to her female ancestors, and unearth what she can about them to start to feel whole.
- American Ramble byISBN: 9780358701491Publication Date: 2023-04-04Neil King Jr.'s desire to walk from Washington, D.C., to New York City began as a whim and soon became an obsession. By the spring of 2021, events had intervened that gave his desire greater urgency. His neighborhood still reeled from the January 6th insurrection. Covid lockdowns and a rancorous election had deepened America's divides. Neil himself bore the imprints of a long battle with cancer. Determined to rediscover what matters in life and to see our national story with new eyes, Neil turned north with a small satchel on his back and one mission in mind: To pay close attention to the land he crossed and the people he met. What followed is an extraordinary 26-day journey through historic battlefields and cemeteries, over the Mason-Dixon line, past Quaker and Amish farms, along Valley Forge stream beds, atop a New Jersey trash mound, across New York Harbor, and finally, to his ultimate destination: the Ramble, where a tangle of pathways converges in Central Park. The journey travels deep into America's past and present, uncovering forgotten pockets and overlooked people. At a time of mounting disunity, the trip reveals the profound power of our shared ground.
- Biting the Hand byISBN: 9781250824677Publication Date: 2023-04-18When Julia Lee was fifteen, her hometown went up in smoke during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The daughter of Korean immigrant store owners in a predominantly Black neighborhood, Julia was taught to be grateful for the privilege afforded to her. However, the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King, following the murder of Latasha Harlins by a Korean shopkeeper, forced Julia to question her racial identity and complicity. She was neither Black nor white - so who was she? This question would follow Julia for years, resurfacing as she traded in her tumultuous childhood for the white upper echelon of elite academia. It was only when she began a PhD in English that she found answers - in the brilliant prose of writers like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. Their works gave Julia the vocabulary and the permission to critically examine her own tortured position as an Asian American, setting off a powerful journey of racial reckoning, atonement, and self-discovery. With prose by turns scathing and heart-wrenching, Julia lays bare the complex disorientation and shame that stem from this country's imposed racial hierarchy. And she argues that Asian Americans must work toward lasting social change alongside Black and brown communities in order to combat the scarcity culture of white supremacy through abundance and joy.
- A Madman's Will byISBN: 9781324092216Publication Date: 2023-04-11Few legal cases in American history are as riveting as the controversy surrounding the will of Virginia Senator John Randolph (1773-1833), which - almost inexplicably - freed all 383 of his slaves in one of the largest and most publicized manumissions in American history. So famous is the case that Ta-Nehisi Coates has used it to condemn Randolph's cousin, Thomas Jefferson, for failing to free his own slaves. With this groundbreaking investigation, historian Gregory May now reveals a more surprising story, showing how madness and scandal shaped John Randolph's wildly shifting attitudes toward his slaves - and how endemic prejudice in the North ultimately deprived the freedmen of the land Randolph had promised them. Sweeping from the legal spectacle of the contested will through the freedmen's dramatic flight and horrific reception in Ohio, “A Madman's Will” is an extraordinary saga about the alluring promise of freedom and its tragic limitations.
- The Leaving Season byISBN: 9780393541052Publication Date: 2023-05-09A memoir in intimate essays navigating marriage and motherhood, art and ambition, grief and nostalgia, and the elusive concept of home; Kelly McMasters found herself in her mid-thirties living her fantasy: she'd moved with her husband, a painter, from New York City to rural Pennsylvania, where their children roamed idyllic acres in rainboots and diapers. The pastoral landscape and the bookshop they opened were restorative at first, for her and her marriage. But soon, she was quietly plotting her escape. In “The Leaving Season,” McMasters chronicles the heady rush of falling in love and carving out a life in the city, the slow dissolution of her relationship in an isolated farmhouse, and the complexities of making a new home for herself and her children as a single parent. She delves into the tricky and often devastating balance between seeing and being seen; loss and longing; desire and doubt; and the paradox of leaving what you love in order to survive. Whether considering masculinity in the countryside through the life of a freemartin calf, the vulnerability of new motherhood in the wake of a car crash, or the power of community pulsing through an independent bookshop, “The Leaving Season” finds in every ending a new beginning.
- Orphan Bachelors byISBN: 9780802162212Publication Date: 2023-05-09Fae Myenne Ng was her parents' precocious first born, the translator, the bossy eldest sister. A child raised by a seafaring father and a seamstress mother, by San Francisco's Chinatown and its legendary Orphan Bachelors -- men without wives or children, Exclusion's living legacy. She and her siblings were their stand-in descendants, Ng's family grocery store their haven. Each Orphan Bachelor bequeathed the children their true American inheritance. Ng absorbed their suspicious, lonely, barren nature; she found storytelling and chosen children in the form of her students. Exclusion's legacy followed her from the back alleys of Chinatown in the 60’s, to Manhattan in the 80’s, to the high desert of California in the 90’s, until her return home in the 2000’s when the untimely deaths of her youngest brother and her father devastated the family. As a child, Ng believed her father's lies; as an adult, she returned to her childhood home to write his truth. “Orphan Bachelors” weaves together the history of one family, lucky to exist and nevertheless doomed; an elegy for brothers estranged and for elders lost; and insights into writing between languages and teaching between generations. It also features Cantonese profanity, snakes that cure fear and opium that conquers sorrow, and a seemingly immortal creep of tortoises - in this powerful remembrance, Ng gives voice to her valiant ancestors.
- The People's Hospital byISBN: 9781501198045Publication Date: 2023-03-14Physician Ricardo Nuila's stunning debut follows the lives of five uninsured Houstonians in their struggle to survive, which leads them to a hospital where insurance comes second to genuine care: Stephen, a restaurant franchise manager who signed up for his company's lowest priced plan, only to find himself facing insurmountable costs after a cancer diagnosis; Christian. a college student and retail worker who can't seem to get an accurate diagnosis or treatment for his debilitating knee pain; Geronimo, 36 years old with liver failure, but his meager disability check disqualifies him for Medicaid, and puts a life-saving transplant out of reach; Roxana, who's lived in the community without a visa for more than two decades, and suffers from complications related to her cancer treatment; Ebonie, a young mother whose high-risk pregnancy endangers her life. Whether due to immigration status, income, or the vagaries of state Medicaid law, all five are denied access to care. For all five, this exclusion could prove life-threatening. Each patient eventually lands at Ben Taub, the county hospital where Dr. Nuila has worked for over a decade. Nuila delves with empathy into the experiences of his patients; as readers follow the movingly rendered twists and turns in each patient's story, it's impossible to deny that our system is broken--and that Ben Taub's innovative model, which emphasizes people over payments, could help light the path forward.
- God the Bestseller byISBN: 9780062464040Publication Date: 2023-03-14One summer evening in 1916 in Blanchester, Ohio, a 16 year-old farm boy was riding his horse past the town cemetery. The horse reared back and whinnied, and Eugene Exman saw God. For the rest of his life, he struggled to recreate that moment. A journey that would lead him in the late 1920’s to the Harper religious books department, which he turned during the Great Depression into a money-making juggernaut and the country's top religion publisher. Exman's role in the shaping of American religion is undeniable. Here was a man who was ahead of his time and leading the rest of the nation through books on a spiritual exploration. Exman did not just sit at a desk and read. In addition to his lifelong relationships with the most influential leaders of the day, Exman was on a spiritual journey of his own traversing the world in search of God. He founded a club of mystics, dropped acid in 1958 (4 years before Timothy Leary), and 6 years before The Beatles went to India, he found a guru there in 1962. Exman helped to reimagine and remake American religion, turning the United States into a place where denominational boundaries are blurred, diversity is valued, and the only creed is that individual spiritual experience is the essence of religion.
- The First Lady of World War (II) byISBN: 9781728256610Publication Date: 2023-05-02The first book to tell the full story of Eleanor Roosevelt's unprecedented and courageous trip to the Pacific Theater during World War II; on August 27, 1943, news broke in the United States that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was on the other side of the world. A closely guarded secret, she had left San Francisco aboard a military transport plane headed for the South Pacific to support and report the troops on WW2's front lines. Americans had believed she was secluded at home. As Allied forces battled the Japanese for control of the region, Eleanor was there on the frontlines, spending five weeks traveling, on a mission as First Lady to experience what our servicemen were experiencing, and to report back home.
- Traffic byISBN: 9780593299753Publication Date: 2023-05-02The origin story of the Age of Disinformation: the candid inside tale of two online media rivals, Jonah Peretti of HuffPost and BuzzFeed and Nick Denton of Gawker Media, whose delirious pursuit of attention helped release the dark forces that would overtake the internet and American society. The curtain opens in Soho in the early 2000’s, after the first dotcom crash, when it seemed that New York City rather than Silicon Valley might become tech's center of gravity. There, within a few square blocks, Nick Denton's merry band of nihilists and Jonah Peretti's sunnier crew built the foundations of viral internet media. Ben Smith, who would go on to earn a controversial reputation as BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief, chronicles it all with marvelous lucidity and tells a nuanced story - yes, Denton's ideology of radical transparency was problematic, but at least he had an ideology. Jonah Peretti survived long after Denton's Gawker perished because his focus on clicks was relentlessly content-agnostic. But unintended consequences began to snowball. “Traffic” explores one of the great ironies of our time: the internet, which was going to help the left remake the world in its image, has become the motive force of right populism. People like Steve Bannon and Andrew Breitbart, all seemed like minor characters in the narrative in which Nick and Jonah and crew were the stars. By 2020, any reasonable observer might wonder if the opposite wasn't the case.
- Homegrown byISBN: 9781668013571Publication Date: 2023-05-02Timothy McVeigh wanted to start a movement; days after the Oklahoma City bombing, the Gulf War veteran expressed no regrets and felt that killing 168 people was his patriotic duty. He had obsessively followed the siege of Waco and seethed at the imposition of President Bill Clinton's assault weapons ban. A self-proclaimed white separatist, he abhorred immigration and wanted women to return to traditional roles. As he watched the industrial decline of his native Buffalo, McVeigh longed for when America was great. Author Jeffrey Toobin traces the dramatic history and profound legacy of Timothy McVeigh, who once declared, "I believe there is an army out there, ready to rise up, even though I never found it" (but that doesn't mean his army wasn't there). Toobin details how McVeigh's principles and tactics have flourished in the decades since his death in 2001, reaching an apotheosis on January 6th when hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol. “Homegrown” reveals how the story of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing is not only a powerful retelling of one of the great outrages of our time, but a warning for our future.
- Generations byISBN: 9781982181611Publication Date: 2023-04-25A groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the six generations that currently live in the United States and how they connect, conflict, and compete with one another; The US is currently home to six generations of people: The Silents (born 1925-1945); Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964); Gen X, (born 1965-1979); Millennials (born 1980-1994); Gen Z (born 1995-2012); and the still-to-be-named cohorts born after 2012. They have had vastly different life experiences and thus, one assumes, they must have vastly diverging beliefs and behaviors. But what are those differences, what causes them, and how deep do they actually run? Professor of psychology Jean Twenge does a deep dive into a treasure trove of long-running, government-funded surveys and databases to answer these questions. Are we truly defined by major historical events, such as the Great Depression for the Silents and September 11 for Millennials? Or, as Twenge argues, is it the rapid evolution of technology that differentiates the generations? With her clear-eyed and insightful voice, Twenge explores what the Silents and Boomers want out of the rest of their lives; how Gen X-ers are facing middle age; the ideals of Millennials as parents and in the workplace; and how Gen Z has been changed by COVID, among other fascinating topics. “Generations” will forever change the way you view your parents, peers, coworkers, and children, no matter which generation you call your own.