For the final day of our 12 Days of Deals, we've handpicked celebrated titles sure to engross history enthusiasts. From a compilation of notable eulogies to a harrowing, intimate account of the Allied liberation of Europe, these books will transport and educate you.
These deals expire December 14th at midnight.
A powerful blend of history, biography, and adventure, Orphan Trains fills a grievous gap in the American story. Tracing the evolution of the Children's Aid Society, this dramatic narrative tells the fascinating tale of one of the most famous—and sometimes infamous—child welfare programs: the orphan trains, which spirited away some 250,000 abandoned children into the homes of rural families in the Midwest. In mid-nineteenth-century New York, vagrant children, whether orphans or runaways, filled the streets. The city's solution for years had been to sweep these children into prisons or almshouses. But a young minister named Charles Loring Brace took a different tack. With the creation of the Children's Aid Society in 1853, he provided homeless youngsters with shelter, education, and, for many, a new family out west. The family matching process was haphazard, to say the least: at town meetings, farming families took their pick of the orphan train riders. Some youngsters, such as James Brady, who became governor of Alaska, found loving homes, while others, such as Charley Miller, who shot two boys on a train in Wyoming, saw no end to their misery. Complete with extraordinary photographs and deeply moving stories, Orphan Trains gives invaluable insights into a creative genius whose pioneering, if controversial, efforts inform child rescue work today.
Deal price: $2.99
A Torch Kept Lit
In a half century on the national stage, William F. Buckley, Jr. achieved unique stature as a writer, a celebrity, and the undisputed godfather of modern American conservatism. He kept company with the best and brightest, the sultry and powerful. Ronald Reagan pronounced WFB “perhaps the most influential journalist and intellectual in our era,” and his jet-setting life was a who’s who of high society, fame, and fortune.
Among all his distinctions, which include founding the conservative magazine National Review and hosting the long-running talk show Firing Line, Buckley was also a master of that most elusive art form: the eulogy. He drew on his unrivaled gifts to mourn, celebrate, or seek mercy for the men and women who touched his life and the nation.
Now, for the first time, WFB’s sweeping judgments of the great figures of his time—presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and scoundrels, intellectuals and guitar gods—are collected in one place. A Torch Kept Lit presents more than fifty of Buckley’s best eulogies, drawing on his personal memories and private correspondences and using a novelist’s touch to conjure his subjects as he knew them. We are reintroduced, through Buckley’s eyes, to the likes of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley and John Lennon, Truman Capote and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Deal price: $1.99
Written with Alex Kershaw's trademark narrative drive and vivid immediacy, The Liberator traces the remarkable battlefield journey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks through the Allied liberation of Europe—from the first landing in Italy to the final death throes of the Third Reich.
Over five hundred bloody days, Sparks and his infantry unit battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the die-hard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Having miraculously survived the long, bloody march across Europe, Sparks was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria, where he and his men experienced some of the most intense street fighting suffered by Americans in World War II.
And when he finally arrived at the gates of Dachau, Sparks confronted scenes that robbed the mind of reason—and put his humanity to the ultimate test.
Deal price: $1.99
In the first-ever history of American beer, Maureen Ogle tells its epic story, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it. Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been true: Rum and whiskey were the drinks of choice in the 1840s, with only a few breweries making heavy, yeasty English ale. When a wave of German immigrants arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century, they promptly set about re-creating the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind. Just fifty years later, the American-style lager beer they invented was the nation’s most popular beverage—and brewing was the nation’s fifth-largest industry, ruled over by fabulously wealthy titans Frederick Pabst and Adolphus Busch. But when anti-German sentiments aroused by World War I fed the flames of the temperance movement (one activist even declared that “the worst of all our German enemies are Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, and Miller”), Prohibition was the result. In the wake of its repeal, brewers replaced flavor with innovations like marketing and lite beer, setting the stage for a generation of microbrewers whose ambitions reshaped the drink. Grab a glass and settle in for the surprising story behind your favorite pint.
Deal price: $2.99
A “fascinating, well-researched account” of Mildred Gillars, the failed actress who turned on her country and became a Nazi propagandist during WWII (Publishers Weekly).
One of the most notorious Americans of the twentieth century was a failed Broadway actress turned radio announcer named Mildred Gillars (1900–1988), better known to American GIs as “Axis Sally.” Despite the richness of her life story, there has never been a full-length biography of the ambitious, star-struck Ohio girl who evolved into a reviled disseminator of Nazi propaganda.
Deal price: $2.99