Historical Perspectives | Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2018

Crouch, Gregory. The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Fortune in the American West. Scribner. Jun. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781501108198. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781501108211. HISTORY
Like so many others, Irish immigrant John Mackay rushed to 1840s California in search of gold. It didn’t pan out, but in 1859, he walked 100 miles to the Comstock Lode in Nevada, maneuvered his way around other comers, and laid claim to the “Big Bonanza,” the richest cache of gold and silver ever found. Then he figured out how to get all that buried treasure out of the ground. A debut from a senior contributing editor at Climbing.

Fox, Margalit. Conan Doyle for the Defense: A Sensational British Murder, the Quest for Justice, and the World’s Greatest Detective Writer. Random. Jun. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780399589454. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399589461. LAW
In 1908, the police chose German Jewish cardsharp Oscar Slater as the handy suspect they could charge with the murder of an elderly Glasgow woman. Angered by the injustice, the famous creator of Sherlock Holmes spent nearly two decades examining the evidence and finally won Slater’s freedom. From an award-winning senior writer at the New York Times.

Renton, Claudia. Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power. Knopf. Jun. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9781101874295. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101874301. Downloadable. BIOGRAPHY
Mary, Madeline, and Pamela: the glorious Wyndham sisters, raised in wealth and opulence, belonging to one of the 400 families that constituted Britain’s ruling class, convinced that they were special, the wives and lovers of powerful men, captured by John Singer Sargent and by Henry James in The Spoils of Poynton, and now chronicled by Renton in a work that won Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize.

Robb, Graham. The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England. Norton. Jun. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780393285321. $27.95. HISTORY
Robb, who has written three prize-winning biographies, all New York Times Best Books, plus other award-winning nonfiction that has traveled from Paris to Middle Earth, here profiles the area known as the Debatable Land. Once an independent territory that stood between Scotland and England, it’s been bloodily marched over for centuries and was the last region to be absorbed into Great Britain. Robb lives there now.

Shlaes, Amity. The Silent Majority. Harper. Jun. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9780061706424. $28.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORY
President of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and author of the New York Times best sellers Coolidge and The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Shlaes argues that Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society gave rise to the so-called silent majority who oppose big government and have felt dispossessed. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Warren, James A. God, War, and Providence: The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians Against the Puritans of New England. Scribner. Jun. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781501180415. $28. HISTORY
Fierce and righteous Puritan expansion in the 17th century meant that by the 1660s Native groups in southern New England tacitly accepted English dominance. Except for the Narragansetts, who joined forces with Roger Williams—a devout minister banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his belief in tolerance—to assure their way of life. Warren is a former visiting scholar at Brown University.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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