On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family’s troubled past. Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass-production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark, and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses, LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. He beats on the doors of union bosses and homeless squatters, powerful businessmen and struggling homeowners and the ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination. Detroit: An American Autopsy is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.
The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters—Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson—and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man—a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined—but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman’s story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman’s own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary “man from Missouri” who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.
Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. At the peak of Red Cloud’s powers the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States and the loyalty of thousands of fierce fighters. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography, and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of the nineteenth century’s most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told.
In The Heart of Everything That Is, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin restore Red Cloud to his rightful place in American history in a sweeping and dramatic narrative based on years of primary research. As they trace the events leading to Red Cloud’s War, they provide intimate portraits of the many lives Red Cloud touched—mountain men such as Jim Bridger; US generals like William Tecumseh Sherman, who were charged with annihilating the Sioux; fearless explorers, such as the dashing John Bozeman; and the memorable warriors whom Red Cloud groomed, like the legendary Crazy Horse. And at the center of the story is Red Cloud, fighting for the very existence of the Indian way of life.
“Unabashed, unbiased, and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled....a compelling and fiery narrative” (USA TODAY), this is the definitive chronicle of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way.
Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century—1951—in the middle of the United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in the middle of the largest generation in American history—the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons)—in his head—as "The Thunderbolt Kid."
Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality—a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances (not to mention nuclear weapons) grew larger and more numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you. He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home. The many readers of Bill Bryson’s earlier classic, A Walk in the Woods, will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-do attitude to gleefully destructive ends.
Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch-perfect observations, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.
Now an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, Humans of New York began in the summer of 2010, when photographer Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of New York City. Armed with his camera, he began crisscrossing the city, covering thousands of miles on foot, all in an attempt to capture New Yorkers and their stories. The result of these efforts was a vibrant blog he called "Humans of New York," in which his photos were featured alongside quotes and anecdotes.
The blog has steadily grown, now boasting millions of devoted followers. Humans of New York is the book inspired by the blog. With four hundred color photos, including exclusive portraits and all-new stories, Humans of New York is a stunning collection of images that showcases the outsized personalities of New York.
Surprising and moving, Humans of New York is a celebration of individuality and a tribute to the spirit of the city.
On the night of July 14th, 1966, drifter Richard Benjamin Speck broke into a Chicago dormitory that housed eight student nurses. One by one, Speck raped, strangled, and stabbed them to death in a sadistic sexual frenzy. Miraculously, one victim, Corazon Amurao, survived by hiding under the bed during the long, nightmarish ordeal. By morning Speck had changed the landscape of American crime.
Now, award-winning Chicago journalist Dennis L. Brea and prosecuting attorney William J. Martin reveal the never-before told story of one of the most appalling mass murders in history—from the killer’s twisted upbringing to the lives and deaths of his innocent victims to the massive manhunt and investigation and the trial that held the country spellbound. Meticulously researched with scores of interviews, including that of Speck’s lone survivor, TheCrime of the Century is “the richly detailed and riveting behind-the scenes story of the crime that murdered American innocence and ushered in the era of mass murder” (Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter).
Detroit: A Biography takes a long, unflinching look at the evolution of one of America’s great cities, and one of the nation’s greatest urban failures. It tells how the city grew to become the heart of American industry and how its utter collapse—from 1.8 million residents in 1950 to 714,000 only six decades later—resulted from a confluence of public policies, private industry decisions, and deep, thick seams of racism. And it raises the question: when we look at modern-day Detroit, are we looking at the ghost of America’s industrial past or its future?
“A triumph of storytelling as well as a triumph of spirit.”—Alex Kotlowitz, award-winning author of There Are No Children Here
As a child in 1950s segregated Virginia, Gregory Howard Williams grew up believing he was white. But when the family business failed and his parents’ marriage fell apart, Williams discovered that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black. The family split up, and Greg, his younger brother, and their father moved to Muncie, Indiana, where the young boys learned the truth about their heritage. Overnight, Greg Williams became black.
In this extraordinary and powerful memoir, Williams recounts his remarkable journey along the color line and illuminates the contrasts between the black and white worlds: one of privilege, opportunity and comfort, the other of deprivation, repression, and struggle. He tells of the hostility and prejudice he encountered all too often, from both blacks and whites, and the surprising moments of encouragement and acceptance he found from each.
Life on the Color Line is a uniquely important book. It is a wonderfully inspiring testament of purpose, perseverance, and human triumph.
“Heartbreaking and uplifting… a searing book about race and prejudice in America… brims with insights that only someone who has lived on both sides of the racial divide could gain.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Lakota Indians counted among their number some of the most famous Native Americans, including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Their homeland was in the magnificent Black Hills in South Dakota, where they found plentiful game and held religious ceremonies at charged locations like Devil's Tower. Bullied by settlers and the U. S. Army, they refused to relinquish the land without a fight, most famously bringing down Custer at Little Bighorn. In 1873, though, on the brink of starvation, the Lakotas surrendered the Hills.
But the story does not end there. Over the next hundred years, the Lakotas waged a remarkable campaign to recover the Black Hills, this time using the weapons of the law. In The Lakotas and the Black Hills, the latest addition to the Penguin Library of American Indian History, Jeffrey Ostler moves with ease from battlefields to reservations to the Supreme Court, capturing the enduring spiritual strength that bore the Lakotas through the worst times and kept alive the dream of reclaiming their cherished homeland.
--Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won
In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois, playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats, defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There the Ironmen would play against a Chicago powerhouse in a dramatic game that would change their lives forever.
In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet: a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Together they embarked on an improbable postseason run that buoyed a small town in desperate need of something to celebrate.
Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.
"Macon's run at the title reminds us why sports matter and why sportswriting has such great power to inspire. . . . [It's] one hell of a good story, and Ballard has written one hell of a good book." --Jonathan Eig, Chicago Tribune
In this groundbreaking work, William Cronon gives us an environmental perspective on the history of nineteenth-century America. By exploring the ecological and economic changes that made Chicago America's most dynamic city and the Great West its hinterland, Mr. Cronon opens a new window onto our national past. This is the story of city and country becoming ever more tightly bound in a system so powerful that it reshaped the American landscape and transformed American culture. The world that emerged is our own.
Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize
The first edition of Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, won the Wisconsin Library Association's 2002 Outstanding Book Award.
From Resurrection Mary and Al Capone to the Murder Castle of H. H. Holmes and the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln, the spine-tingling sights and sounds of Chicago's yesteryear are still with us . . . and so are its ghosts.
Seeking to find out what we really know about the ghastly past of this famously haunted metropolis, professional ghost hunter and historian Adam Selzer pieces together the truth behind Chicago's ghosts, and brings to light dozens of never-before-told firsthand accounts. Take a historical tour of the famous and not-so-famous haunts around town, from the Alley of Death and Mutilation to Satan's Mile and beyond. Sometimes the real story is far different from the urban legend--and most of the time it's even gorier.
Bergreen shows the seedy and glamorous sides of the age, the rise of Prohibition, the illicit liquor trade, the battlefield that was Chicago. Delving beyond the Capone mythology. Bergreen finds a paradox: a coldblooded killer, thief, pimp, and racketeer who was also a devoted son and father; a self-styled Robin Hood who rose to the top of organized crime. Capone is a masterful portrait of an extraordinary time and of the one man who reigned supreme over it all, Al Capone.
Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long, Dodge City’s streets were lined with saloons and brothels and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s, Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West.
Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West, and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Clavin's Dodge City tells the true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures, along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) that has gone largely untold—lost in the haze of Hollywood films and western fiction, until now.
Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city?
Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations.
Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new ballpark . . . wild comeback victories . . . a record sellout streak . . . two trips to the World Series . . . and a city crazed with Indians fever.
Revisit baseball’s most fearsome lineup: Albert Belle’s mighty swing and ferocious glare . . . Jim Thome’s moon-shot home runs . . . Omar Vizquel’s poetry-in-motion play at shortstop . . . Kenny Lofton’s exhilarating baserunning and over-the-wall catches . . .
These two Cleveland baseball veterans were there for it all. Now, they combine firsthand experience and in-depth player interviews to tell a richly detailed story that Tribe fans will love.
After pieces of Edwin and Wilma Hoyt’s dismembered bodies were found floating on the surface of a nearby lake, authorities charged McCook resident Harold Nokes and his wife, Ena, with murder. Harold pleaded guilty to murder and Ena pleaded guilty to two counts of wrongful disposal of a dead body, but the full story of why and how he murdered the Hoyts has never been told.
Hewitt interviews law enforcement officers, members of the victims’ family, weapons experts, and forensic psychiatrists, and delves into newspaper reports and court documents from the time. Most significant, Harold granted Hewitt his first and only interview, in which the convicted murderer changed several parts of his 1974 confession. In Cold Storage takes readers through the evidence, including salacious details of sex and intrigue between the Hoyts and the Nokeses, and draws new conclusions about what really happened between the two families on that fateful September night.
In the 1990s, Detroit’s Big Three automobile companies were riding high. The introduction of the minivan and the SUV had revitalized the industry, and it was widely believed that Detroit had miraculously overcome the threat of foreign imports and regained its ascendant position. As Micheline Maynard makes brilliantly clear in THE END OF DETROIT, however, the traditional American car industry was, in fact, headed for disaster. Maynard argues that by focusing on high-profit trucks and SUVs, the Big Three missed a golden opportunity to win back the American car-buyer. Foreign companies like Toyota and Honda solidified their dominance in family and economy cars, gained market share in high-margin luxury cars, and, in an ironic twist, soon stormed in with their own sophisticatedly engineered and marketed SUVs, pickups and minivans. Detroit, suffering from a “good enough” syndrome and wedded to ineffective marketing gimmicks like rebates and zero-percent financing, failed to give consumers what they really wanted—reliability, the latest technology and good design at a reasonable cost. Drawing on a wide range of interviews with industry leaders, including Toyota’s Fujio Cho, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn, Chrysler’s Dieter Zetsche, BMW’s Helmut Panke, and GM’s Robert Lutz, as well as car designers, engineers, test drivers and owners, Maynard presents a stark picture of the culture of arrogance and insularity that led American car manufacturers astray. Maynard predicts that, by the end of the decade, one of the American car makers will no longer exist in its present form.
In a time of unregulated madness, nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. It was the perfect place for a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz to entice hundreds of people to invest as much as $30 million--upwards of $400 million today--in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. It was an ingenious deceit, one that out-Ponzied Charles Ponzi himself.
In this rip-roaring tale of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man on the town and then on the lam, Empire of Deception proves that the American dream of easy wealth is truly a timeless commodity.
“Captivating . . . Dean Jobb tells the story of Leo Koretz, a legendary con artist of Madoffian audacity, with terrific energy and narrative brio.” —Gary Krist, author of Empire of Sin
“A brilliantly researched tale of greed, ambition, and our desperate need to believe in magic, it’s history that captures America as it really was--and always will be. A great read.” —Douglas Perry, author of Eliot Ness
“Reads like a Gatsby-Ponzi mashup . . . Kudos to Jobb for unearthing this overlooked story and bringing to life a charming, witty, naughty, iconic American crook.” —Neal Thompson, author of A Curious Man
“The granddaddy of all con men, Leo Koretz gives Jobb the opportunity to exhibit his impressive research and storytelling skills . . . A highly readable, entertaining story.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” —Dave Barry
For centuries, brewmasters both professional and homegrown have pursued the perfect pour—a delectable combination of barley, yeast, water, and hops—and few states can claim as devoted a relationship to beer as Minnesota. For a time it seemed that every town had its brewery and a beer garden was a highlight of every local celebration. Dedicated home brewers and casual pub crawlers alike will be amazed by the stories of Minnesota beers and breweries featured in Land of Amber Waters.
Starting with the first brewery in 1849, Doug Hoverson tells the story of the state’s beer industry from the small-town breweries that gave way to larger companies with regional and national prominence, including Hamm’s, Grain Belt, and Schell’s, to the vibrant beer culture of today, led by a new wave of breweries such as Summit, Lake Superior Brewing Co., and Surly, and brewpubs like Town Hall Brewery, Fitger’s, and Granite City Brewpub, and sustained by microbreweries, home brewers, and beer aficionados.
From the first illegal brewer at Fort Snelling to the craft brewers and major companies of today, nearly 300 breweries have opened and operated at one time or another in 125 cities and towns around the state. Complete with a comprehensive list of Minnesota’s breweries—including many never before published—and more than 300 tempting illustrations of beer and breweriana, Land of Amber Waters marvelously chronicles Minnesota’s rich brewing traditions.
Doug Hoverson teaches social studies and coaches the debate team at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. He is the assistant editor of American Breweriana Journal, an award-winning homebrewer, and a certified beer judge.
“A major work. . . . Leavitt focuses on three illustrative issues—smallpox, garbage, and milk, representing the larger areas of infectious disease, sanitation, and food control.”—Norman Gevitz, Journal of the American Medical Association
“Leavitt’s research provides additional evidence . . . that improvements in sanitation, living conditions, and diet contributed more to the overall decline in mortality rates than advances in medical practice. . . . A solid contribution to the history of urban reform politics and public health.”—Jo Ann Carrigan, Journal of American History
Detroit: A Biography takes a long, unflinching look at the evolution of one of America’s great cities, and one of the nation’s greatest urban failures. It seeks to explain how the city grew to become the heart of American industry and how its utter collapse resulted from a confluence of public policies, private industry decisions, and deep, thick seams of racism. This updated paperback edition includes recent developments under Michigan’s Emergency Manager law. And it raises the question: when we look at modern-day Detroit, are we looking at the ghost of America’s industrial past or its future?
Scott Martelle is the author of The Fear Within and Blood Passion and is a professional journalist who has written for the Detroit News, the Los Angeles Times, the Rochester Times-Union, and more.
Holmes’ Own Story is a fascinating look into the mind of one of America’s first serial killers. Herman Webster Mudgett, aka H. H. Holmes, was a horrific serial killer made famous in the popular Erik Larson book, The Devil in the White City. H. H. Holmes built a three story Murder Castle in Chicago in the 19th century with death on his mind. Dr. Holmes lured unsuspecting victims into secret rooms, vaults and gas chambers and made use of a dissection table in his basement. Holmes preyed on travelers that came to the Chicago World’s Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition) in 1893. He advertised rooms for rent and offered employment opportunities in his Murder Castle, often called Holmes Castle and World’s Fair Hotel.
Henry H. Holmes killed his business partner and friend, Benjamin Pitezel, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But he didn’t stop there. The heartless serial killer took three of Benjamin Pitezel’s children on a cross-country trip. Philadelphia Detective Frank P. Geyer followed H. H. Holmes murderous trail into Canada with devastating results. No doubt about it, HH Holmes earned despicable nicknames such as Arch Fiend, Butcher, Modern Bluebeard, Swindler, Moral Degenerate, and more. Holmes was a monster in disguise as a doctor, a perfect ruse to lure victims.
In Holmes’ Own, you will learn the personality and thought process of H. H. Holmes, straight from the mind of the diabolical killer himself. The three-part book includes:
• H. H. Holmes memoir, Holmes’ Own Story (1895), written by the serial killer while he awaited trial
• Moyamensing Prison diary
• H. H. Holmes confession of twenty-seven murders (1896)
• Judgement day with details about Holmes’ death by hanging at Moyamensing Prison
• Unusual concrete burial at historic Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania
• Odd story H. H. Holmes told about his planned reincarnation as a dog
• An interview with Philadelphia Detective Frank P. Geyer about his belief Holmes’ planned to murder his third wife, Georgiana Yoke
• An interview with Mrs. Benjamin Pitezel after Holmes’ execution
• 87 rare historical illustrations including Herman Webster —Mudgett’s birth and death certificates
• Sources, Illustration Credits, and Bibliography
• Clickable Table of Contents, List of Illustrations, and Notes
10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything contains a plethora of surprising trivia and pertinent tidbits on so many different areas that will appeal to everyone from history buffs to sports fans to foodies, with an especially riveting look into Chicago-area history and facts. For example, in Zion, Illinois it was once not only illegal to gamble, curse, and sell alcohol and tobacco, but also to whistle on Sundays, put on plays, eat pork or oysters, spit, or wear tan-colored shoes.
Some facts will make readers laugh and some will make jaws drop. This collection is a kaleidoscope of the absurd, the outrageous, and the sometimes-gruesome, making a highly entertaining mix of people, places, and things. 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything will leave readers brighter, wittier, and curious to learn more about myriad worlds they never encountered before and will never forget.
A Farm Boy’s Polio Memoir
“Families throughout the United States lived in fear of polio throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, and now the disease had come to our farm. I can still remember that short winter day and the chilly night when I first showed symptoms. My life would never be the same.”
—from the Introduction
Polio was epidemic in the United States starting in 1916. By the 1930s, quarantines and school closings were becoming common, as isolation was one of the only ways to fight the disease. The Sauk vaccine was not available until 1955; in that year, Wisconsin’s Fox River valley had more polio cases per capita than anywhere in the United States. In his most personal book, Jerry Apps, who contracted polio at age twelve, reveals how the disease affected him physically and emotionally, profoundly influencing his education, military service, and family life and setting him on the path to becoming a professional writer.
A hardworking farm kid who loved playing softball, young Jerry Apps would have to make many adjustments and meet many challenges after that winter night he was stricken with a debilitating, sometimes fatal illness. In Limping through Life he explores the ways his world changed after polio and pays tribute to those family members, teachers, and friends who helped him along the way.
May and Elmo’s story, engagingly told by Carrie A. Meyer, showcases the large-scale evolution of agriculture from horses to automobile and tractors, a surprisingly vibrant family and community life, and the business of commercial farming. Details such as what items were bought and sold, what was planted and harvested, the temperature and rainfall, births and deaths, and the direction of the wind are gathered to reveal a rich picture of a world shared by many small farmers.
With sustainable and small-scale farming again on the rise in the United States, Days on the Family Farm resonates with both the profound and mundane aspects of rural life—past and present—in the Midwest.
Carrie A. Meyer is associate professor of economics at George Mason University.
Bookended by the close of the logging era and the 1970s shift to modern lake homes, condos, and Jet Skis, the 1920s to 1960s period covered in these essays represents the golden age of Northwoods camps and cabins—a time when retreats such as Wake Robin were the essence of simplicity. In Return to Wake Robin, Mamminga describes the familiar cadre of fishing guides casting their charm, the camaraderie and friendships among resort workers and vacationers, the call of the weekly square dance, the splash announcing a perfectly executed cannonball, the lodge as gathering place. By tracing the history of one resort and cabin, she recalls a time and experience that will resonate with anyone who spent their summers Up North—or wishes they had.
“The sting, the speed and marksmanship of the gimcracks his characters fire at each other . . . drips the kind of soulful, energized sarcasm that has long characterized [Letts’] work as an actor and playwright.”–Time Out Chicago
Tracy Letts, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his epic, caustic Oklahoma family drama August: Osage County, has shifted gears with this entertaining comedy set in a donut shop. A love letter to the city where he has lived for more than twenty years, Letts describes his new work as “an exploration of the Chicago storefront experience.” The play takes place in the north side neighborhood of Uptown, where Arthur Przybyszewski runs the donut shop that has been in his family for sixty years. More content to spend the day smoking weed and reminiscing about his Polish immigrant father, Arthur hires a shop assistant, the young African American Franco Wicks, who has both an unpublished novel and unpaid gambling debt. Superior Donuts premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and recently opened on Broadway—following the same path of success as Letts’ previous work.
Tracy Letts is the author of Killer Joe, Bug, Man from Nebraska (nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize), and August: Osage County (awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama). He is a member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
The Sisters also share tips for buying and restoring vintage trailers because they know that once you see all the fun they're having fly-fishing, riding horses, camping, eating, laughing, and loving, you just might want to join their cowgirl caravan when it heads out for the next adventure.
Sisters on the Fly will inspire readers with charming and witty anecdotes from the Sisters as they experience the open road and some of the most beautiful places in the country. It is organized around fishing, food, friendship, love, and loss. And, of course, around beautiful vintage trailers that have been lovingly transformed from "trashed to treasured."
The book features dozens of engaging stories about the incredible women who buy and restore these trailers, as well as sidebars loaded with both practical and whimsical information for anyone who is ready to find her own trailer and join the caravan.
Marking the 40th anniversary of Kennedy's Indianapolis speech, this book explains what brought the politician to Indiana that day, and explores the characters and events of the 1968 Indiana Democratic presidential primary in which Kennedy, who was an underdog, had a decisive victory.
Read about the lives (and deaths) of fearless, famous lawmen such as Bass Reeves, Chalk Beeson, Bill Tilghman, and Pat Garrett; learn about the dauntless women who blazed new paths for their sex in medicine, journalism, entertainment, and voting rights; and discover the intriguing facts and myths that continue to circulate about these and other infamous characters long after their grave markers have become worn down or simply lost to time.
An almost endless list of achievements took place in Chicago in 1893. Chicago’s most important skyscraper was completed in 1893, and Frank Lloyd Wright opened his office in the same year. African American physician and Chicagoan Daniel Hale Williams performed one of the first known open-heart surgeries in 1893. Sears and Roebuck was incorporated, and William Wrigley invented Juicy Fruit gum that year. The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry all started in 1893. The Cubs’ new ballpark opened in this year, and an Austro-Hungarian immigrant began selling hot dogs outside the World’s Fair grounds. His wares became the famous “Chicago hot dog.”
“Cities are not buildings; cities are people,” writes author Joseph Gustaitis. Throughout the book, he brings forgotten pioneers back to the forefront of Chicago’s history, connecting these important people of 1893 with their effects on the city and its institutions today. The facts in this history of a year range from funny to astounding, showcasing innovators, civic leaders, VIPs, and power brokers who made 1893 Chicago about so much more than the fair.
Clarinda, Iowa, population 5,000, sits two hours from anything. There, between the corn fields and hog yards, is a ball field with a bronze bust of a man named Merl Eberly, a baseball whisperer who specialized in second chances and lost causes. The statue was a gift from one of Merl’s original long-shot projects, a skinny kid from the ghetto in Los Angeles who would one day become a beloved Hall-of-Fame shortstop: Ozzie Smith.
The Baseball Whisperer traces the remarkable story of Merl Eberly and his Clarinda A’s baseball team, which he tended over the course of five decades, transforming them from a town team to a collegiate summer league powerhouse. Along with Ozzie Smith, future manager Bud Black, and star player Von Hayes, Merl developed scores of major league players (six of which are currently playing). In the process, Merl taught them to be men, insisting on hard work, integrity, and responsibility.
More than a book about ballplayers who landed in the nation's agricultural heartland, The Baseball Whisperer is the story of a coach who puts character and dedication first, and reminds us of the best, purest form of baseball excellence.
As leader of an unprecedented crime-busting squad, twenty-eight-year-old Eliot Ness won fame for taking on notorious mobster Al Capone. But the Untouchables’ daring raids were only the beginning of Ness’s unlikely story.
This new biography grapples with the charismatic lawman’s complicated, largely forgotten legacy. Perry chronicles Ness’s days in Chicago as well as his spectacular second act in Cleveland, where he achieved his greatest success: purging the profoundly corrupt city and forging new practices that changed police work across the country. He also faced one of his greatest challenges: a mysterious serial killer known as the Torso Murderer. Capturing the first complete portrait of the real Eliot Ness, Perry brings to life an unorthodox man who believed in the integrity of law and the power of American justice.
It was a time before runaway salaries and designated hitters. Before divisional playoffs and drug suspensions. Before teams measured their well-being by the number of corporate boxes in their ballpark and the cable contract in their pocket. It was the last season of baseball’s most colorful and nostalgic period.
It was surely not a more innocent time. The 1968 Tigers were a team of hell-raisers, the second coming of the Gas House Gang. They brawled on the field and partied hard afterward. They bickered with each other and ignored their manager. They won game after game with improbable rallies on their last at-bat and grabbed the World Championship by coming back from a three games to one deficit to beat the most dominant pitcher in the World Series history in the deciding seventh game.
Their ultimate hero, Mickey Lolich, was a man who threw left-handed, thought “upside down,” and rode motorcycles to the ballpark. Their thirty-game winner, Denny McLain, played the organ in various night spots, placed bets over the clubhouse phone, and incidentally, overpowered the American League. Their prize pinch-hitter, Gates Brown, had done hard time in the Ohio Penitentiary. Their top slugger, Willie Horton, would have rather been boxing. Their centerfielder, Mickey Stanley, a top defensive outfielder, would unselfishly volunteer to play the biggest games of his life at shortstop, so that their great outfielder, Al Kaline, could get into the World Series lineup.
The story of this team, their triumph, and what happened in their lives afterward, is one of the great dramas of baseball history.
The Tigers of ’68 is the uproarious, stirring tale of this team, the last to win a pure pennant (before each league was divided into two divisions and playoffs were added) and World Series. Award-winning journalist George Cantor, who covered the Tigers that year for the Detroit Free Press, revisits the main performers on the team and then weaves their memories and stories (warts and all) into an absorbing narrative that revives all of the delicious—and infamous—moments that made the season unforgettable. Tommy Matchick’s magical ninth-inning home run, Jim Northrup’s record-setting grand slams, Jon Warden’s torrid April, Dick McAuliffe’s charge to the mound, Denny McLain’s gift to Mickey Mantle, the nearly unprecedented comeback in the World Series, and dozens more.
The ’68 Tigers occupy a special place in the history of the city of Detroit. They’ve joined their predecessors of 1935 as an almost mythic unit—more than a baseball team. The belief has passed into Detroit folklore. Many people swear, as Willie Horton says, that they were “put here by God to save the city.” The Tigers of ’68 will help you understand why.
Against an ethnohistorical background, the author relates the story of the Chickasaws from their first recorded contacts with Europeans in the lower Mississippi Valley in 1540 to final dissolution of the Chickasaw Nation in 1906. Included are the years of alliance with the British, the dealings with the Americans, and the inevitable removal to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in 1837 under pressure from settlers in Mississippi and Alabama. Among the significant events in Chickasaw history were the tribe’s surprisingly strong alliance with the South during the Civil War and the federal actions thereafter which eventually resulted in the absorption of the Chickasaw Nation into the emerging state of Oklahoma.
Using the contested urban center of Detroit as a model, Thompson assesses the role of such upheaval in shaping the future of America's cities. She argues that the glaring persistence of injustice and inequality led directly to explosions of unrest in this period. Thompson finds that unrest as dramatic as that witnessed during Detroit's infamous riot of 1967 by no means doomed the inner city, nor in any way sealed its fate. The politics of liberalism continued to serve as a catalyst for both polarization and radical new possibilities and Detroit remained a contested, and thus politically vibrant, urban center.
Thompson's account of the post-World War II fate of Detroit casts new light on contemporary urban issues, including white flight, police brutality, civic and shop floor rebellion, labor decline, and the dramatic reshaping of the American political order. Throughout, the author tells the stories of real events and individuals, including James Johnson, Jr., who, after years of suffering racial discrimination in Detroit's auto industry, went on trial in 1971 for the shooting deaths of two foremen and another worker at a Chrysler plant.
Bringing the labor movement into the context of the literature of Sixties radicalism, Whose Detroit? integrates the history of the 1960s into the broader political history of the postwar period. Urban, labor, political, and African-American history are blended into Thompson's comprehensive portrayal of Detroit's reaction to pressures felt throughout the nation. With deft attention to the historical background and preoccupations of Detroit's residents, Thompson has written a biography of an entire city at a time of crisis.
In Operation Family Secrets, Frank Calabrese, Jr. reveals for the first time the outfit’s “made” ceremony and describes being put to work alongside his father and uncle in loan sharking, gambling, labor racketeering, and extortion. As members of the outfit, they plotted the slaying of a fellow gangster, committed the bombing murder of a trucking executive, the gangland execution of two mobsters—whose burial in an Indiana cornfield was reenacted in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film Casino—and numerous other hits.
The Calabrese Crew’s colossal earnings and extreme ruthlessness made them both a dreaded criminal gang and the object of an intense FBi inquiry. When Frank Jr., his father, and Uncle Nick are convicted on racketeering violations, “Junior” and “Senior” are sent to the same federal penitentiary in Michigan. It's there that Frank Jr. makes the life-changing decision to go straight. But he needs to keep his father behind bars in order to regain control of his life and save his family. So Frank Jr. makes a secret deal with prosecutors, and for six months—unmonitored and unprotected—he wears a wire as his father recounts decades of hideous crimes. Frank Jr.’s cooperation with the FBI for virtually no monetary gain or special privileges helped create the government’s “Operation Family Secrets” campaign against the Chicago outfit, which reopened eighteen unsolved murders, implicated twelve La Cosa Nostra soldiers and two outfit bosses, and became one of the largest organized crime cases in U.S. history.
Operation Family Secrets intimately portrays how organized crime rots a family from the inside out while detailing Frank Jr.’s deadly prison-yard mission, the FBI’s landmark investigation, and the U.S. attorney’s office’s daring prosecution of America’s most dangerous criminal organization.
As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no heat, and no electricity, Amy finds a community of Detroiters who, like herself, aren't afraid of a little hard work or things that are a little rough around the edges. Filled with amusing and touching anecdotes about navigating a real-estate market that is rife with scams, finding a contractor who is a lover of C.S. Lewis and willing to quote him liberally, and neighbors who either get teary-eyed at the sight of newcomers or urge Amy and her husband to get out while they can, Amy writes evocatively about the charms and challenges of finding her footing in a city whose future is in question. Detroit Hustle is a memoir that is both a meditation on what it takes to make a house a home, and a love letter to a much-derided city.
Author Geoff Partlow follows the storm from town to town, introducing us to the people most affected by the tornado, including the African American population of southern Illinois. Their narratives, along with the stories of the heroes who led recovery efforts in the years following, add a hometown perspective to the account of the storm itself.
In the discussion of the aftermath of the tornado, Partlow examines the lasting social and economic scars in the area, but he also looks at some of the technological firsts associated with this devastating tragedy. Partlow shows how relief efforts in the region began to change the way people throughout the nation thought about disaster relief, which led to the unified responses we are familiar with today.
2015 ISHS Certificate of Excellence