Monthly Archives: June 2016

New books June 2016

A blog post with *all* of our new books for June 2016 would be prohibitively long, so here are some highlights:

JubileebookMargaret Walker’s “Jubilee” is a true story of the author’s great-grandmother, born of a white plantation owner and his black mistress in the antebellum South.  The New York Times Book Review said it “chronicled the triumph of a free spirit over many kinds of bondage.”  Walker was a professor at Jackson State University and founded the Institute for the Study of the History, Life and Culture of Black People.

TamilTigressBookIt isn’t always easy to find good books on specific topics, like the civil war in Sri Lanka, so we purchased this memoir by Niromi de Soyza, who fought as a child soldier in that conflict. A review in Publisher’s Weekly said “Readers will both empathize with and judge de Soyza’s experiences in the Tamil struggle as she candidly shares the messy truths of what occurred in the jungle and how she came to leave the Tigers behind.”

KissingersShadowbookNo matter your political leanings, you can’t deny that Henry Kissinger left an indelible mark on U.S. foreign policy in the 20th century. Journalist Greg Grandin tries to expose the negative impact of Kissinger’s idea of American exceptionalism. For a different take on Kissinger, try Walter Isaacson’s 2005 biography.


spittingbloodBookFreelance historian Helen Bynum offers a history of tuberculosis, one of the world’s deadliest diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The Guardian’s review said Bynum “has written a book not only full of diverting asides, but also of urgent importance…[her] book is a call to action.” While the number of TB cases declined from 2013 to 2014, it was the smallest decline in decades. [CDC link above]

Muhammad Ali (1942-1916)

Ali1The world mourns the passing of Muhammad Ali on June 3, 2016. He was a sports icon who had a tremendous impact on society. Journalist David Remnick* said it best in this article in the New Yorker:

He “was the most fantastical American figure of his era, a self-invented character of such physical wit, political defiance, global fame, and sheer originality that no novelist you might name would dare conceive him.”

Michael Ezra’s 2009 biography “Muhammad Ali: the Making of an Icon” (above)  tries to consider Ali from all sides; a national hero and a highly-scrutinized civil rights hero to many. Reviewer Carol Rotella says that Ezra’s book “makes fresh sense of Ali as cultural icon and historical figure” and the “vast literature and mythos that surround him.”

*Remnick is the author of one of the many biographies of Ali.  His 1999 title “King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of the American Hero” is rated as “a great book written by a master storyteller, a book worthy of America’s most dynamic modern hero.” (Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June 1999).