History can take many forms—from personal histories to those researched by authors. This month, we're offering great deals on a wide variety of books—from the authorized biography of JFK to a history of the Vikings. Get your hands on these discounted books today!
Note: These deals were last updated on 10/5/18. Check back soon for more history books on sale!
A six-month New York Times bestseller: “Not only the best Watergate book, but a very good book indeed” (The Sunday Times).
As White House counsel to Richard Nixon, a young John W. Dean was one of the primary players in the Watergate scandal—and ultimately became the government’s key witness in the investigations that ended the Nixon presidency. After the scandal subsided, Dean rebuilt his career, first in business and then as a bestselling author and lecturer. But while the events were still fresh in his mind, he wrote this remarkable memoir about the operations of the Nixon White House and the crisis that led to the president’s resignation.
A remarkable literary hybrid—part biography, part detective story—about the enduring figure of Robinson Crusoe
Where did Crusoe come from? Frank explores the intertwined lives of two real men, Daniel Defoe and Robert Knox, and the character and book that emerged from their peculiar conjunction.
January 1719. A man sits at a table, writing. Nearly sixty, Daniel Defoe is troubled with gout and mired in political controversy and legal threats. But for the moment he is preoccupied by a younger man on a barren shore—Robinson Crusoe.
Several miles south, another old man, Robert Knox, sits bent over a heavy volume—published nearly forty years before. Knox’s Historical Relation was a bestseller when it was published in 1681, just a year after he escaped from Ceylon and returned to England. Where did Crusoe come from? And what is the secret of his endurance? Crusoe explores the intertwined lives of two real men, Daniel Defoe and Robert Knox, and the character and book that emerged from their peculiar conjunction. It is the biography of a book and its hero: the story of Defoe, the man who wrote Robinson Crusoe, and of Robert Knox, the man who was Crusoe.
The Last Jews in Berlin
When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, approximately one hundred sixty thousand Jews called Berlin home. By 1943 less than five thousand remained in the nation’s capital, the epicenter of Nazism, and by the end of the war, that number had dwindled to one thousand. All the others had died in air raids, starved to death, committed suicide, or been shipped off to the death camps.
In this captivating and harrowing book, Leonard Gross details the real-life stories of a dozen Jewish men and women who spent the final twenty-seven months of World War II underground, hiding in plain sight, defying both the Gestapo and, even worse, Jewish “catchers” ready to report them to the Nazis in order to avoid the gas chambers themselves. A teenage orphan, a black-market jewel trader, a stylish young designer, and a progressive intellectual were among the few who managed to survive. Through their own resourcefulness, bravery, and at times, sheer luck, these Jews managed to evade the tragic fates of so many others.
The authorized biography of John F. Kennedy offers a fresh and candid look at what shaped the man America came to love and admire, just as he was on the cusp of the presidency
Historian, political scientist, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author James MacGregor Burns wrote Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, the first volume of his highly acclaimed biography of FDR, in 1956. Two years later, Burns ran for a seat in Congress and became close friends with John F. Kennedy, who was also campaigning throughout the state for reelection to the Senate. After Burns lost his election, he decided to write a biography of JFK. Without any restrictions, Kennedy granted his friend complete access to files, family records, and personal correspondence. The two men spoke at great length in Washington, DC, and at the Kennedy family compound on Cape Cod, and afterwards, Kennedy asked his relatives, friends, and political colleagues to talk openly with Burns as well. The result is a frank, incisive, and compelling portrait of Kennedy from his youth to his service in World War II and his time in Congress.
A “devastating” exposé of the United States’ Latin American policy and the infamous career and assassination of agent Dan Mitrione (Kirkus Reviews).
In 1960, former Richmond, Indiana, police chief Dan Mitrione moved to Brazil to begin a new career with the United States Agency for International Development. During his ten years with the USAID, Mitrione trained and oversaw foreign police forces in extreme counterinsurgency tactics—including torture—aimed at stomping out communism across South America. Though he was only a foot soldier in a larger secret campaign, he became a symbol of America’s brutal interventionism when he was kidnapped and executed by Tupamaro rebels in Montevideo, Uruguay.
In Hidden Terrors, former New York Times Saigon bureau chief A. J. Langguth chronicles with chilling detail Mitrione’s work for the USAID on the ground in South America and Washington, DC, where he shared his expertise. Along the way, Langguth provides an authoritative overview of America’s efforts to destabilize communist movements and prop up military dictators in South America, presenting a “powerful indictment of what the United States helped to bring about in this hemisphere” (The New York Times). Even today, the tactics Mitrione helped develop continue to influence operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and black sites around the globe.
A Machine Called Indomitable
The true story of the doctor who invented the MRI: “A fascinating account of how a significant medical development came about” (The New York Times).
Dr. Raymond Damadian was plagued with a mysterious and persistent stomach pain, yet physicians assured him that they could find nothing wrong. To find the answer to his ailment, Damadian would spend the ensuing twelve years building a machine that would change medicine. Nuclear magnetic resonance scanning, now called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), was a revolution: a safe means to determine the makeup of every cell in the human body, distinguishing healthy cells from sick. Although Damadian’s ideas were met with skepticism and outright opposition from the medical community, this machine would go on to save the lives of millions by diagnosing disease while effective treatment was still possible. In short, it was a medical miracle.
After the Madness
Driving down the Long Island Expressway in November of 1992, Sol Wachtler was New York’s chief judge and heir apparent to the New York governorship. Suddenly, three van loads of FBI agents swerved in front of him—bringing his car and his legal career to a halt. Wachtler's subsequent arrest, conviction, and incarceration for harassing his longtime lover precipitated a media feeding frenzy, revealing to the world his struggles with romantic attachment, manic depression, and drug abuse.
In this, his prison diary, Wachtler reveals the stark reality behind his vertiginous fall from the heights of the legal establishment to the underbelly of the criminal justice system. Sentenced to a medium security prison in Butner, North Carolina, Wachtler is stabbed by an unseen assailant, berated by prison guards, and repeatedly placed in solitary confinement with no explanation. Moreover, as a prisoner he confronts firsthand the inequities of a system his judicial rulings helped to construct and befriends the type of people he once sentenced.
With unflinching honesty, Wachtler draws on his unique experience of living life on both sides of the bench to paint a chilling portrait of prison life interwoven with a no‑holds‑barred analysis of the shortcomings of the American legal justice system.
Encounters of a Wayward Sailor
Drawing on experiences from a lifetime at sea, Tristan Jones uses his acute powers of observation and his gift with for telling tales to transport us aboard boats struggling through savage gales, sweltering through parched calms, and sliding down the trade winds through beautiful, phosphorescent seas. With a special poignancy and his unique, wry sense of humor, Jones brings back to life people--like sailing adventurer Bill Tilman, long-distance voyager Bernard Moitessier, and pioneering woman sailor Clare Francis--as well as the places and boats lost to time. He recalls his favorite ports, his treasured cities, and his most memorable voyages.
Archaeologist Neil Oliver ventures beyond the myths about seafaring Norsemen to reveal the true lives of their chieftains, warlords, and explorers.
The Vikings are infamous for taking no prisoners, relishing cruel retribution, and priding themselves on their bloodthirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the West and as far as Baghdad in the East.
As the Vikings did not record their own history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and their tale, as Neil Oliver reveals, is an extraordinary story of a stalwart people who came from the brink of destruction to develop awesome seafaring power that reached a quarter of the way around the globe, building an empire that lasted nearly two hundred years.
The Physics of Wall Street
After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, “beware of geeks bearing formulas.” But while many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack–era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, James Owen Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles.
The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Models—whether in science or finance—have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didn’t understand their purpose, and didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it’s to make them better.
This book reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance, from a geophysicist using a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash to a physicist-run hedge fund earning 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. Weatherall shows how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index. The Physics of Wall Street will change how we think about our economic future.
The Making of the English Working Class
A history of the common people and the Industrial Revolution: “A true masterpiece” and one of the Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the twentieth century (Tribune).
During the formative years of the Industrial Revolution, English workers and artisans claimed a place in society that would shape the following centuries. But the capitalist elite did not form the working class—the workers shaped their own creations, developing a shared identity in the process. Despite their lack of power and the indignity forced upon them by the upper classes, the working class emerged as England’s greatest cultural and political force. Crucial to contemporary trends in all aspects of society, at the turn of the nineteenth century, these workers united into the class that we recognize all across the Western world today.
Leningrad: Siege and Symphony
The “gripping story” of a Nazi blockade, a Russian composer, and a ragtag band of musicians who fought to keep up a besieged city’s morale (The New York Times Book Review).
For 872 days during World War II, the German Army encircled the city of Leningrad—modern-day St. Petersburg—in a military operation that would cripple the former capital and major Soviet industrial center. Palaces were looted and destroyed. Schools and hospitals were bombarded. Famine raged and millions died, soldiers and innocent civilians alike.
Against the backdrop of this catastrophe, historian Brian Moynahan tells the story of Dmitri Shostakovich, whose Seventh Symphony was first performed during the siege and became a symbol of defiance in the face of fascist brutality. Titled “Leningrad” in honor of the city and its people, the work premiered on August 9, 1942—with musicians scrounged from frontline units and military bands, because only twenty of the orchestra’s hundred members had survived.
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