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.

Race Goes To War

Ollie Stewart and the Reporting of Black Correspondents in World War II

by Antero Pietila & Stacy Spaulding

United States History

American blacks entered World War II in a peculiar position. Could they fight for the freedom of others while their own country denied theirs? And could they fight honorably in a still segregated armed forces? This illuminating perspective on World War II reportage shows how questions of race followed troops to the battlefields and how black correspondents—allowed on the frontlines for the first time—reported it. 

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A House Dividing

As Civil War Loomed in the 1850s, Why Couldn’t North and South Get Along

by David M. Potter

American History, Civil War

Soon after Appomattox, historians began debating the causes of the American Civil War. Why had North and South grown apart? Had it been all about slavery as a moral question? Or were less visible economic interests at work? Perhaps two distinct cultures had finally produced irreconcilable differences. The debates continue to this day, but nowhere is the reader likely to find a more brilliant and succinct analysis than in David Potter’s account of the major events that led to war.

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Rethinking National Security

An Outmoded Concept Is Sapping America's Strength

by John Prados

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

 The distinguished historian John Prados calls for a total rethinking of our expansive concept of national security. If we fail to make hard decisions about existential threats, he concludes, we will find ourselves in a death spiral as a nation.

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A Streetcar Named Pleiku

Vietnam 1965: A Turning Point

by John Prados

American History, Vietnam War

The story of a major turning point in the Vietnam War, and whether the attack on Pleiku was only an excuse for Washington’s escalation.

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'Jewtown' in the New Land

Immigrant Jewish Life in New York City in the Late Nineteenth Century

by Jacob A. Riis

American History, Immigration History

In the great migrations of the later nineteenth century, New York City drew masses of Irish, Italian, and Jewish newcomers, many of them crowded into tenements on the Lower East Side. Soon it was the most densely populated place on earth. In the 1890s the area became a subject of investigation by a new breed of American journalists, the muckrakers. Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, published in 1890, sought to reveal the way of life in the New York tenements. Here he describes how Jewish immigrants made their way in a strange new land.

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Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

Selections from a Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, Delivered by Ex-Senator George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Philosopher, from His Rostrum--the New York County Court House Bootblack Stand

by William L. Riordon

American History

Among the great manuals of urban politics in America, none is more charming or instructive than the plain talks of George Washington Plunkitt of New York City’s powerful Tammany Hall at the turn of the twentieth century. “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em,” said Plunkitt while explaining the differences between honest graft and dishonest graft. His office was Graziano’s bootblack stand in New York’s old county courthouse.

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High and Tight

Hank Greenberg Confronts Anti-Semitism in Baseball

by Ray Robinson

United States History, U.S. History, Sports History

When Hank Greenberg challenged Babe Ruth’s home run record he became a hero to American Jews.  On the 100th anniversary of his birth, Ray Robinson remembers the man, the player, and the prejudice he overcame.

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Peanuts, Popcorn & American Presidents

by Ray Robinson

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

No politician who yearns for the White House would dare turn his back on the National Pastime. Ray Robinson surveys the presidential attitude toward baseball since the early twentieth century, separating the enthusiasts from the pretenders.

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