Shaping the American Character

Turner’s key “frontier thesis” argues that frontier life shaped 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.

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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Hunting the Grizzly

by Theodore Roosevelt

American History, U.S. History, Sports History, Education

On his Dakota ranch, Theodore Roosevelt learned to ride Western style, rope, and hunt. Already at twenty-seven a serious historian and author, he began writing about the frontier life. His account of confrontations with grizzly bears shows us how unusual was this American president.

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Inaugural Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Words That Lifted a Nation Through the Great Depression and World War II

by Franklin D. Roosevelt

American History

Among his other accomplishments, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president in American history to be elected four times. Upon each of FDR’s inaugural addresses, the nation faced different problems. Some progress had been made, but many problems had not yet been overcome; and meanwhile new challenges or perils lay on the horizon. In his addresses, Roosevelt offered the people a candid appraisal and sometimes sought to prepare them for circumstances that lay ahead.

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Paris Under the Occupation

by Jean-Paul Sartre

Translated from the French with an introduction by Lisa Lieberman

European History, Philosophy, Military History

After France fell to Hitler’s armies in 1940, for more than four years the country lived under a German occupation that reinforced its shame and sapped its energies.  Afterward, Jean-Paul Sartre attempted to explain France's experience and repair the nation's tarnished reputation.

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Workingman

The Faith-Based Politics of Bruce Springsteen

by June Skinner Sawyers

American History, Music

The working-class hero of rock music is Bruce Springsteen, who sings of the troubles and joys in the everyday lives of small-town Americans. At times Springsteen has been accused of being a romantic or, even worse, just a liberal; but he’s also been celebrated as a visionary, a troubadour whose insights into the struggles of common folk also touch on the larger themes of disenchantment with the American Dream. Springsteen came only gradually to a political message in his music. The course of his development is traced in this revealing portrait by June Sawyers.

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Enemies, A Love Story

The oral history of Siskel and Ebert

by Josh Schollmeyer

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

Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, competing Chicago film critics, started out as enemies in print.  When someone put them together on TV to critique coming attractions, they became legendary—and friends, but no less acerbic.  Witty and engaging, in the end they stood tallest when they stood together.

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Is a College Education Still Worth the Price?

A Dean's Sobering Perspective

by Richard B. Schwartz

Education, United States History

A former dean looks at American higher education and finds the value of a college education now highly problematic.  With an insider's knowledge, he describes the hidden costs behind exploding tuition costs that are creating a two-tiered society.  

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