Lucy Parsons, Enrico Fermi, & the Reconstruction | December Nonfiction on Audio

Byrne, Gary J. Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the U.S. Secret Service. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478999928. Reader TBA.
The United States Secret Service is tasked with one of the world’s most important missions: protecting the President of the United States. Byrne, a former Secret Service officer, reveals the agency’s evolution, studying the major attacks it has thwarted and bringing to life the key players, forces and dramatic shifts that have made it what it is today—an elite but troubled protection force. Secrets of the Secret Service shares action-packed stories from the agency’s past, covering key moments of American history, including the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and John and Robert Kennedy—as well as the foiled attempts on the lives of Jackson, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Ford, Reagan, both Presidents Bush, Clinton, Obama, and Trump.

Foner, Eric. A Short History of Reconstruction. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538510919. Reader TBA.
Foner chronicles the way in which Americans—black and white—responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. The book addresses the quest of emancipated slaves’ searching for economic autonomy and equal citizenship, and describes the remodeling of Southern society; the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns of race relations; and the emergence of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and one committed, for a time, to the principle of equal rights for all Americans.

Jones, Jacqueline. Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical. Blackstone. ISBN 9781549114281. Reader TBA.
Goddess of Anarchy recounts the formidable life of the militant writer, orator, and agitator Lucy Parsons. Born to an enslaved woman in Virginia in 1851 and raised in Texas–where she met her husband, the Haymarket “martyr” Albert Parsons–Lucy was a fearless advocate of First Amendment rights, a champion of the working classes, and one of the most prominent figures of African descent of her era. And yet, her life was riddled with contradictions; she advocated violence without apology, concocted a Hispanic-Indian identity for herself, and ignored the plight of African Americans.

Julien, Maude with Adriana Hunter. The Only Girl in the World. Blackstone. ISBN 9781549114120. Reader TBA.
Julien’s parents were fanatics who believed it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor: raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood and subjecting her to endless drills designed to “eliminate weakness.” Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching, and to sit perfectly still in a rat-infested cellar all night long (her mother sewed bells onto her clothes that would give her away if she moved). She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment. But Maude’s parents could not rule her inner life. Befriending the animals on the lonely estate as well as the characters in the novels she read in secret, young Maude nurtured in herself the compassion and love that her parents forbid as weak. And when, after more than a decade, an outsider managed to penetrate her family’s paranoid world, Maude seized her opportunity.

Kix, Paul. The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France’s Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538456781. Read by Malcolm Hillgartner.
A scion of one of the most storied families in France, Robert de La Rochefoucald was raised in magnificent chateaux and educated in Europe’s finest schools. When the Nazis invaded and imprisoned his father, La Rochefoucald escaped to England and learned the dark arts of anarchy and combat—cracking safes and planting bombs and killing with his bare hands—from the officers of Special Operations Executive. With his newfound skills, La Rochefoucauld returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, interfered with Germans’ war-time missions, and executed Nazi officers. The Saboteur recounts La Rochefoucauld’s enthralling adventures, from jumping from a moving truck on his way to his execution, to stealing Nazi limos, to dressing up in a nun’s habit.

May, Elaine Tyler. Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy. Blackstone. ISBN 9781549114045. Reader TBA.
For the last sixty years, fear has seeped into every area of American life: Americans own more guns than citizens of any other country, sequester themselves in gated communities, and retreat from public spaces. And yet, crime rates have plummeted, making life in America safer than ever. Why, then, are Americans so afraid–and where does this fear lead? May demonstrates how our obsession with security has made citizens fear each other and distrust the government, making America less safe and less democratic. Fortress America charts the rise of a muscular national culture, undercutting the common good. Instead of a thriving democracy of engaged citizens, we have become a paranoid, bunkered, militarized, and divided vigilante nation.

Millar, Sam. On the Brinks. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525587774. Read by John Keating.
In 1993, $7.4 million was stolen from the Brink’s Armored Car Depot in Rochester, NY, the fifth largest robbery in US history. Millar was a member of the IRA gang who carried out the robbery. He was caught, found guilty, and incarcerated, before being set free by Bill Clinton as an essential part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. This book is Sam’s story, from his childhood in Belfast, membership in the IRA, time spent in Long Kesh internment camps, and the Brinks heist and aftermath.

Origgi, Gloria. Reputation: What Is It and Why It Matters. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501975691. Read by Stephen Holmes & Noga Arikha.
Reputation touches almost everything, guiding our behavior and choices in countless ways. But it is also shrouded in mystery. Why is it so powerful when the criteria by which people and things are defined as good or bad often appear to be arbitrary? Why do we care so much about how others see us that we may even do irrational and harmful things to try to influence their opinion? Origgi draws on philosophy, social psychology, sociology, economics, literature, and history to offer an illuminating account of an important yet oddly neglected subject. Origgi examines the influence of the Internet and social media, as well as the countless ranking systems that characterize modern society and contribute to the creation of formal and informal reputations in our social relations, in business, in politics, in academia, and even in wine.

Schwartz, David N. The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times and Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age. Blackstone. ISBN 9781549114205. Reader TBA.
In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything-at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history’s greatest mentors.

Share
Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*