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A Jewish State
Theodor Herzl proposes a solution to the 'Jewish Question' and to anti-Semitism: a separate and independent ...
My Father's Girl
Jane Addams, whose Hull-House became a symbol of progressive reform, here remembers her father who helped ...
Paris Goes to War
As the World War engulfs Europe in August 1914, Edith Wharton reports from Paris on the ...
Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a signal event in American ...
Darwin Changes His Mind
Here is Darwin’s account of his visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species, which ...
A Grand Way to Chronicle a War
A fascinating glimpse of World War II journalism behind the front lines at Paris’s Hotel Scribe, ...
The Genius and the Jerk
Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs--was he a genius, or simply an expert ...
The Story of a Photograph
The story behind Walker Evans’s iconic photograph of Ellie Mae ...
Nonfiction Books and Essays
Featuring good writing for serious readers, Now and Then short-form nonfiction books and essays are available exclusively as Kindle books, Nook Books, iPad 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.
Selections from Boots and Saddles Or, Life in Dakota with General CusterAmerican History
Libbie Custer’s Boots and Saddles, published in 1885, offers not only an intimate portrait of her husband George Armstrong Custer, the tragic commander of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. It also vividly records the dangers and hardships of life on the Western frontier for those army wives who followed their husbands from one post to another. Such accounts are scarce. The existence Libbie relates was difficult and sometimes precarious, and when the soldiers left for campaigns against the Indians, the wives waited uneasily at home for news.
His Findings in the Galapagos Islands Lead Him to the Theory of EvolutionHistory, Natural History
In 1831, Charles Darwin, twenty-two years old and a student of the ministry at Cambridge University, signed on to accompany the captain of the HMS Beagle on a voyage to survey the poorly known coastal areas of South America. Young Darwin’s account of this five-year journey became one of the world’s great travel books—The Voyage of the Beagle—but his experience also led him toward a theory of evolution that overthrew the most fundamental beliefs of man’s place in the world. And a key encounter in this regard was Darwin’s visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species.
Translated from the French with an introduction by Lisa LiebermanEuropean History, Philosophy, Military History
Where does vengeance end and justice begin? In Simone de Beauvoir’s compelling essay, written in the aftermath of World War II, she explains why she refused to call for the pardon of a prominent right-wing collaborator with the Nazis.
In this excerpt from his classic analysis of American political life, Tocqueville seeks to understand why democracy causes Americans to feel the way they do about equality, freedom, individualism, religion, associations, and physical pleasures.
An American Slave, Written by HimselfAmerican History
The story of Frederick Douglass’s struggles as a slave, his desire to learn to read and write, his yearning to be a free man, and his escape to freedom is compactly but passionately related in this Narrative, first published in 1845. The book became one of the great autobiographical statements in the history of American reform.
Four Selections from The Souls of Black FolkAmerican History, United States History
Four essays, provocative and often poetic, about the black experience in America and the quest for equality at the turn of the twentieth century. The most celebrated essay is Du Bois’s attack on Booker T. Washington’s approach to the improvement of American Negroes, a powerful objection to Washington’s leadership. The other three selections concern the Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War and its failed promise; the relations between whites and blacks in the South, then and for the future; and the influence of black religion, especially the church as a social center.
Thoughts on Life and Politics from the Famous Turn-of-the-20th-Century Chicago SaloonkeeperUnited States History, Political Science, American History, U.S. History, U.S. Government
Mr. Dooley, a turn-of-the-20th-century Irish saloonkeeper from Chicago’s Archer Avenue (“Ar-rchey Road,” he called it) on the city’s southwest side, was the creation of Finley Peter Dunne, a Chicago newspaperman. Mr. Dooley analyzed world affairs for the equally fictitious Mr. Hennessey, and his opinions went out to the real press and the reading public. They are current—and funny. The problems confronting America a hundred years ago are among those that remain unsolved today.
The Industrial Revolution Remakes England and Creates a Proletariat Selections from The Condition of the Working Class in EnglandEuropean History, Economic History
Among the profusion of books and pamphlets and inquiries throughout Western Europe in the mid-19th century that addressed the condition of the working class under the new industrialism, Engels’ book, based on firsthand observation and on other available sources, stood out. Today it remains, as Eric Hobsbawm notes, “the first large-scale attempt to apply the Marxist method to the concrete study of society . . . [and] by far the best single book on the working class of the period.”