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New Books - Nonfiction

An American Story

Enjoy some of the best new books on American history, culture, and people – available from the Ferguson Library.


Jobb, Dean
Empire of Deception: A Master Swinder Who Seduced a City
364.163 K84J

Chicago fraudster Leo Koretz spread his investment scheme over 20 years, selling bogus stock to those who begged to get in on the sure thing of his oil fields in Panama and other dubious moneymakers. Genial and well-liked by the ladies, Koretz doled out dividends, keeping everyone happy until the whole thing collapsed.  Source: Booklist, March 15, 2015


Martelle, Scott
The Madman and the Assassin: Boston Corbett, the Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth
973.7 C789M

Corbett, a soldier in the cavalry, was part of the search for Booth who was hiding in the Maryland countryside after shooting Abraham Lincoln. The cavalry found the barn where Booth was hiding and set it ablaze. When Booth raised his gun, Corbett fired and killed him. Corbett's later behavior led to his commitment to an asylum.  Source: Library Journal, March 01, 2015


Baker, Emerson W.
A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience
345.7445 B167s

The author of this well-written assessment acknowledges that historians have advanced many theories in their attempts to explain the witchcraft phenomena.  He contends that the furor  that climaxed with the witch trials at Salem Town can only be understood if it is viewed as the result of "a unique convergence of conditions and events."  Source: Choice, Feb 01, 2015


Schultz, Kevin M.
Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties
973.92 B924S

Mailer and Buckley were magnetic intellectual leaders with superhuman energy. Both loved America but in different ways. Schultz navigates the 1960s through these two larger-than-life men, offering plentiful anecdotes in an entertaining style. This difficult friendship, as Mailer called it, illuminates the larger cultural context.  Source: Publishers Weekly, March 09, 2015


Slevin, Peter B.
Michelle Obama: A Life
973.932 O12S

A descendant of slaves, Michelle Obama has a lineage and a life history most unlikely for a First Lady. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in a working-class black family, she has lived her life against the backdrop of major developments in black America.  Like all First Ladies, she has sparked affection, criticism, and controversy.  Source: Booklist, Feb 15, 2015


Peyser, Marc  and Timothy Dwyer
Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth
973.917 P517h

It's hard not to like Alice Roosevelt Longworth, though the authors give many reasons why we shouldn't; for one, at 85, Alice did her impersonation of Eleanor's speech and jutting jaw for an hour.  But Eleanor, the authors note, will be the one remembered. This witty double biography offers a fascinating look at two strong, intelligent women.  Source: Booklist, March 15, 2015


Givhan, Robin
The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into the Spotlight
746.92 G539b

In 1973, American and French designers showed their clothing at the Palace of Versailles in a benefit show to raise money for a needed restoration of the chateau. Americans Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, and Stephen Burrows exhibited alongside French artists. This event was ground-breaking for the Americans.  Source: Library Journal, March 15, 2015


Pennington, Bill
Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius
796.357 M379P

Author Pennington takes on the endlessly complex subject of baseball player and manager Billy Martin, now more than 25 years after his death in an automobile accident outside his farm near Binghamton, New York.  Martin was  a brawler, a tempermental drinker, a deeply flawed human being, and perhaps the best manager ever.  Source: Booklist, April 01, 2015


Burrough, Brian
Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground
303.484 B972d

With so much contemporary focus on terrorist threats abroad, author Burroughs looks back to the anarchic violence of the 1960s and 1970s posed by radical groups mounting protest bombings. The book focuses on several groups, including  the Weather Underground,  the Black Liberation Army, and the Symbionese Liberation Army.  Source: Booklist, March 15, 2015