The Siege of Blair Mountain

A gripping account of the 1920s conflict between mine workers ...


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Nonfiction Books and Essays

Featuring good writing for serious readers, Now and Then short-form nonfiction books and essays are available exclusively as Kindle booksNook BooksiPad books or ebooks for other popular mobile devices.  

Each week, we publish original titles, excerpts from forthcoming books, and reprints of work worthy of being read again. We focus on writing that is historically based but also has relevance for present day events.

Our latest titles can be found in the list below.

The March to the Sea

Sherman Drives Across Georgia to Savannah

by William T. Sherman

Military History, American History, U.S. History

The most controversial Civil War general was William T. Sherman, an indelible figure whose march through Georgia and the Carolinas typified his unrelenting style of warfare that showed the South no quarter. Sherman’s Memoirs may not be as direct as Grant’s, but they make no compromise. They are the work of an intelligent and literate man who brought to modern warfare a new sensibility that was later to become a subject of ongoing debate. Here is his account of the march from Atlanta to Savannah in November and December 1864, the prelude to Confederate surrender.

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Courting Racial Justice

Harry Truman Outflanks the Southern Barons of Capitol Hill

by Robert Shogan

United States History, Political Science, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government

President Harry Truman skirted Congress and boldly used the Justice Department to support the rights of black Americans. How he did it, and his effort’s lasting consequences, are told in this sharply observed account.

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The Siege of Blair Mountain

Class Warfare and High Treason in West Virginia's Coalfields

by Robert Shogan

United States History, Political Science, American History, U.S. History

The so-called Roaring Twenties were not only about loose morality and a devil-may-care display of opulence. In the byways of America, working men and women were seeking labor justice and struggling against the entrenched powers of capitalism. Nowhere was this struggle more poignant and important than in the coalfields of West Virginia. There in the 1920s the United Mine Workers confronted the coal operators who sought to bust their union. The ensuing conflict, violent and bloody, had much to say about the future of relations between working people and their bosses in America.  

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The Solitude of Self

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Appeals for Women's Rights

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

United States History

The major women’s suffrage organizations used a variety of tactics in seeking the vote but did not achieve success until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Elizabeth Cady Stanton served these organizations for more than twenty years as president. In that time she became a leading champion of women’s rights and the intellectual powerhouse of the woman’s movement in the United States. Late in life, in “The Solitude of Self,” she distilled her most compelling arguments.

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The Granddaddy of All Bubbles

The Lessons of the South Sea Financial Hysteria Remain Unlearned Since 1720

by Paul Strathern

World History, Economic History

The lessons of financial bubbles and their inevitable consequences could be discerned almost three centuries ago, in 1720. Paul Strathern here relates the story of London’s South Sea Bubble, the first great financial hysteria, whose characteristics appear all too familiar today.

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Birth of the Skyscraper

Louis Sullivan Describes the Heart and Soul of the Tall Building

by Louis H. Sullivan

American History, Architecture

In these excerpts from his most important writings, Louis Sullivan explores the cultural ideas as well as the engineering and architectural realities that led to the making of the skyscraper and America's emphasis on the tall building as a fixture of modern urban society. Sullivan is the key link between nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture and moreover between two worldviews. 

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The Rise of the Standard Oil Company

by Ida M. Tarbell

American History

The discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859 opened a new chapter in world commerce and riveted the attention of American entrepreneurs, notably a young man named John D. Rockefeller of Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller was not only a man of vision; he was possessed of singular drive, ambition, and a ruthlessness to succeed. Almost single-handedly he built the Standard Oil Company into the greatest corporate colossus the country had witnessed. Ms. Tarbell’s account of the Standard’s rise covers a crucial moment in Rockefeller’s quest for dominance of the industry. 

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Expanded Powers

The FBI, the NSA, and the Struggle Between National Security and Civil Liberties in the Wake of 9/11

by Athan G. Theoharis

United States History, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government

Athan Theoharis considers the record of the past to assess today’s broadened powers for the FBI and the NSA after 9/11.  He concludes that Americans may feel marginally safer, but at a dangerous cost to their freedoms and to the tenor of our political dialogue.

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