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An acclaimed New York Times bestseller, selected by Salon as a best book of the year, the astonishing untold story of the life and times of Sioux warrior Red Cloud: “a page-turner with remarkable immediacy…and the narrative sweep of a great Western” (The Boston Globe).

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.
From one of the world's most beloved writers and New York Times bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s.

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.
"One Shot at Forever is powerful, inspirational. . . . This isn't merely a book about baseball. It's a book about heart." --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
“A rollicking tale that is one part The Sting, one part The Great Gatsby, and one part The Devil in the White City.” —Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

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

 
No one did political corruption quite like Rod Blagojevich. The 40th governor of Illinois made international headlines in 2008 when he was roused from his bed and arrested by the FBI at his Chicago home. He was accused of running the state government as a criminal racket and, most shockingly, caught on tape trying to barter away President-elect Barack Obama’s US Senate seat. Most politicians would hunker down, stay quiet, and fight the federal case against them. But as he had done for years, Rod Blagojevich proved he was no ordinary politician. Instead, he fueled the headlines, proclaiming his innocence on seemingly every national talk show and street corner he could find.Revealing evidence from the investigation never before made public, Golden is the most complete telling yet of the Blagojevich story, written by two Chicago reporters who covered every step of his rise and fall and spent years sifting through evidence, compiling documents, and conducting more than a hundred interviews with those who have known Blagojevich from his childhood to his time in the governor’s office. Dispensing with sensationalism to present the facts about one of the nation’s most notorious politicians, the authors detail the mechanics of the corruption that brought the governor down and profile a fascinating and frustrating character who embodies much of what is wrong with modern politics. With Blagojevich now serving 14 years in prison, the time has come for the last word on who Blagojevich was, how he was elected, how he got himself into trouble, and how the feds took him down.
“A heartfelt paean to the pioneering breweries of the Midwest, packed with details and excellent photos. Land of Amber Waters is sure to delight anyone interested in the storied history of American brewing.” —Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery, and author of The Brewmaster's Table

 

“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.

Certain symbols abound in modern Western culture that are instantly recognizable: the cross signifies Christianity, the six-pointed Star of David is revered by Jews, the golden arches frequently means it's time for lunch. Other symbols, however, require a bit of decoding-particularly those found in cemeteries. Cemeteries are virtual encyclopedias of symbolism. Engravings on tombstones, mausoleums and memorials tell us just about everything there is to know about a person: date of birth and death as well as religion, ethnicity, occupation, community interests, and much more. In the fascinating new book Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism by noted author Douglas Keister, the secrets of cemetery symbolism are finally revealed.
Did you know that it is quite rare to see a sunflower on a tombstone? Did you know that the human foot symbolizes humility and service since it consistently touches the earth? Or the humble sheaf of wheat-while it is often used to denote someone who has lived a long and fruitful life? Do you know other meanings it might carry?
Stories in Stone provides history along with images of a wide variety of common and not-so-common cemetery symbols, and offers an in-depth examination of stone relics and the personal and intimate details they display-flora and fauna, religious icons, society symbols, and final impressions of how the deceased wished to be remembered. Douglas Keister has created a practical field guide that is compact and portable, perfect for those interested in family histories and genealogical research, and is the only book of its kind that unlocks the language of symbols in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner.

Douglas Keister has photographed fourteen award-winning, critically acclaimed books (including Red Tile Style: America's Spanish Revival Architecture, The Bungalow: America's Arts & Crafts Home, and Storybook Style: America's Whimsical Homes of the Twenties) earning him the title "America's most noted photographer of historic architecture." He also writes and illustrates magazine articles and contributes photographs and essays to other books, calendars, posters, and greeting cards. Doug lives in Chico, California, and travels frequently to photograph and lecture on historic architecture and photography.
Detroit was established as a French settlement three-quarters of a century before the founding of this nation. A remote outpost built to protect trapping interests, it grew as agriculture expanded on the new frontier. Its industry leapt forward with the completion of the Erie Canal, which opened up the Great Lakes to the East Coast. Surrounded by untapped natural resources, Detroit turned iron into stoves and railcars, and eventually cars by the millions. This vibrant commercial hub attracted businessmen and labor organizers, European immigrants and African Americans from the rural South. At its heyday in the 1950s and ’60s, one in six American jobs were connected to the auto industry and Detroit. And then the bottom fell out.
            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.
“It is a meditation on Chicago’s old soul . . . a witty, seductive, live-wire and greatly entertaining dark comedy that you just don’t want to end.” –Chicago Tribune

“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.

On the Hunt is the story of deer-hunting in Wisconsin, from the spear-throwing Paleo-Indians to the sportsmen of today. Meticulously researched by one of the state's most prolific outdoor writers, On the Hunt covers subsistence and sport hunting, deer camps, changing deer management policies, and recent developments and controversies, from human encroachment on deer habitat to CWD. Range maps and charts tracking annual herd populations and harvest goals complement Willging's engaging storytelling. Drawing from Department of Conservation papers, hunting magazines, newspapers, historic photos of classic deer camps, and the personal stories of hunters and deer managers, On the Hunt offers a fascinating glimpse into a distant and not-so-distant past, when the hunt joined men in almost mythical unity and bucks were seemingly larger than life. An ardent sportsman with nearly 25 years of hunting experience, Willging understands that deer-hunting is as much about the smell of the woods in autumn and the meticulous cleaning of a fine rifle as it is about bringing home a whitetail. His story of how Wisconsin's own World War II flying ace, Richard Bong, squeezed in a few days of hunting while home on leave vividly illustrates the sport's powerful pull on hearts and minds. Willging also engagingly conveys the important tradition of the deer-hunting camp, from a humble two-man shack in Chequamegon National Forest (like the one he shared with his best friend, Steve) to the grand old Deer Foot Lodge founded in 1912 in Vilas County. On the Hunt is perfect preparation for the avid sportsman's annual fall trek with friends and family into the woods.
In 1893, the 27.5 million visitors to the Chicago World’s Fair feasted their eyes on the impressive architecture of the White City, lit at night by thousands of electric lights. In addition to marveling at the revolutionary exhibits, most visitors discovered something else: beyond the fair’s 633 acres lay a modern metropolis that rivaled the world’s greatest cities. The Columbian Exposition marked Chicago’s arrival on the world stage, but even without the splendor of the fair, 1893 would still have been Chicago’s greatest year.

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.

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For nineteenth-century travelers, the Santa Fe Trail was an indispensable route stretching from Missouri to New Mexico and beyond, and the section called “The Missouri Trail”—from St. Louis to Westport—offered migrating Americans their first sense of the West with its promise of adventure. The truth was, any easterner who wanted to reach Santa Fe had to first travel the width of Missouri. This book offers an easy-to-read introduction to Missouri’s chunk of Santa Fe Trail, providing an account of the trail’s historical and cultural significance. Mary Collins Barile tells how the route evolved, stitched together from Indian paths, trappers’ traces, and wagon roads, and how the experience of traveling the Santa Fe Trail varied even within Missouri. The book highlights the origin and development of the trail, telling how nearly a dozen Missouri towns claimed the trail: originally Franklin, from which the first wagon trains set out in 1821, then others as the trailhead moved west. It also offers a brief description of what travelers could expect to find in frontier Missouri, where cooks could choose from a variety of meats, including hogs fed on forest acorns and game such as deer, squirrels, bear, and possum, and reminds readers of the risks of western travel. Injury or illness could be fatal; getting a doctor might take hours or even days. Here, too, are portraits of early Franklin, which was surprisingly well supplied with manufactured “boughten” goods, and Boonslick, then the near edge of the Far West. Entertainment took the form of music, practical jokes, and fighting, the last of which was said to be as common as the ague and a great deal more fun—at least from the fighters’ point of view. Readers will also encounter some of the major people associated with the trail, such as William Becknell, Mike Fink, and Hanna Cole, with quotes that bring the era to life. A glossary provides useful information about contemporary trail vocabulary, and illustrations relating to the period enliven the text. The book is easy and informative reading for general readers interested in westward expansion. It incorporates history and folklore in a way that makes these resources accessible to all Missourians and anyone visiting historic sites along the trail.
One of the most influential institutions of higher learning in the world, the University of Chicago has a powerful and distinct identity, and its name is synonymous with intellectual rigor. With nearly 170,000 alumni living and working in more than 150 countries, its impact is far-reaching and long-lasting.

With The University of Chicago: A History, John W. Boyer, Dean of the College since 1992, presents a deeply researched and comprehensive history of the university. Boyer has mined the archives, exploring the school’s complex and sometimes controversial past to set myth and hearsay apart from fact. The result is a fascinating narrative of a legendary academic community, one that brings to light the nature of its academic culture and curricula, the experience of its students, its engagement with Chicago’s civic community, and the conditions that have enabled the university to survive and sustain itself through decades of change.

Boyer’s extensive research shows that the University of Chicago’s identity is profoundly interwoven with its history, and that history is unique in the annals of American higher education. After a little-known false start in the mid-nineteenth century, it achieved remarkable early successes, yet in the 1950s it faced a collapse of undergraduate enrollment, which proved fiscally debilitating for decades. Throughout, the university retained its fierce commitment to a distinctive, intense academic culture marked by intellectual merit and free debate, allowing it to rise to international acclaim. Today it maintains a strong obligation to serve the larger community through its connections to alumni, to the city of Chicago, and increasingly to its global community.

Published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the university, this must-have reference will appeal to alumni and anyone interested in the history of higher education of the United States.
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