Too Fantastic to Be True

Even when the “final solution” became apparent, why did the ...


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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.

At Los Alamos

Learning to Love the Bomb

by Jeremy Bernstein

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

The atomic bomb was developed at government laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico, by a team of outstanding physicists under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Upon seeing the results of the first detonation of an atomic device, the test director Kenneth Bainbridge is said to have remarked to Oppenheimer, “Now we are all sons of bitches.” Yet the physicists could scarcely contain their fascination with what they had wrought, as Jeremy Bernstein finds in this report from ground zero.

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Bonnie Parker Writes a Poem

How a Couple of Bungling Sociopaths Became Bonnie and Clyde

by Steven Biel

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

In their time, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker attracted much less attention than star criminals like John Dillinger. Steven Biel plots the strange path by which this pair of ne’er-do-wells became the stuff of myth and legend.

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Jet Lag

by Ann Birstein

European History, Holocaust

“European Discovery Tour” was the title on the travel brochure. But as Ann Birstein knew, the journey that she signed up for included a discovery of the most unhappy places on the continent. Her little tour group, most all of them Jewish, was shepherded not only to some of Eastern Europe’s grandest locales but also to its most terrible, including the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz, and other grim reminders of the Holocaust and the lost Jews of Europe. Along the way in what became a search for her own soul, Ms. Birstein offers a moving perspective on a tragic people trapped by history.

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The Revolt of Henrik Ibsen

by Robert Brustein

European History, Theater

Instead of consoling sermons, modern drama offered painful demands; instead of a liturgy of acceptance, a liturgy of complaint. The man who first brought the theater to this confrontation with reality was Henrik Ibsen. Robert Brustein explores the nature of his revolt.

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Portrait of the Monster as a Young Man

The Formative Years of Adolf Hitler

by Alan Bullock

European History, Military History, Biography, Biography

From Alan Bullock’s incomparable biography: Hitler’s formative years, from his birth in 1889 to the end of the First World War in 1918. It sets the stage for Hitler’s later strategies and programs by explaining the sources of his ideas and the influences of his early life experiences.

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Emancipation

Lincoln Frees the Slaves

by Lord Charwood

American History

In September 1862, some fourteen months into the Civil War and having pondered deeply the freeing of the slaves, Lincoln issued his first Emancipation Proclamation. Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of this signal event in American history.

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The Spark in the Tinderbox

Assassination in Sarajevo and the Onset of the Great War

by Christopher Clark

Military History, European History

The assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo in June 1914 by Serbian terrorists capped the political tension and instability of the Balkans in the years before World War I. The European continent, beset by intricate diplomacy and complex alliances, fell into war just thirty-seven days later. The Old World nature of the assassination disguises some very modern elements: a cavalcade of automobiles, a squad of suicide bombers, and an avowedly terrorist organization that existed across political borders, without a clear location. Here in gripping detail is the story of what happened on that fateful morning in Sarajevo.

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The Apprenticeship of Alger Hiss

by R. Bruce Craig

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

Alger Hiss’s turn toward the political left, leading to his association with Whittaker Chambers, is portrayed in Bruce Craig’s incisive account of Hiss’s early years, drawing upon previously untapped sources.

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