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Dave's Reviews

A black and white photo of a seated man wearing "alien eyes" sunglasses, looking backwards towards the camera amongst foliage.

Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

A combination of It Can’t Happen Here horror story of American dystopia and an epic struggle from Italy to Germany—including many Medal of Honor–minting battles and heroism—Facing the Mountain would make a movie to rival D-Day spectaculars. Japanese Americans’ lives were upended by Roosevelt’s order that they be sent to concentration camps in the desert. Brown’s book is a tour through the lives of Japanese Americans in this time: ROTC high school kids; those who resisted internment and the draft; those who went to war to defend American ideals and their familial values; those who never came back from the war; and those who did who had still another battle to fight. — Dave

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Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525557401
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - May 11th, 2021

The Hunt for History by Nathan Raab

Nathan Raab finds amazing—and sometimes terrible—things. A British officer’s report from St. Helena announcing the death of Napoléon. Andrew Jackson’s letter to the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, inviting them to what would become the Trail of Tears. A love letter from MLK in the Albany City Jail. A forged land survey, not by George Washington. The missing tapes from Air Force One after the JFK assassination. And a letter from Susan B. Anthony explaining that no, she did not want to buy photographs of famous men of the 1800s. If you understand why half a piece of moldy paper with the signature torn off could be worth the world, then this book is for you. — Dave

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory by Claudio Saunt

After finishing Unworthy Republic, you’ll be wondering how the US got off so lightly in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Two hundred years of violent, though piecemeal, efforts to displace the original inhabitants of the Eastern US did not result in the purging of all Native peoples. Claudio Saunt explains how the first systematized, censused, self-capitalized, internationally brokered, and democratically determined program to remove an entire people, or kill them if more convenient, led to the Trail of Tears, the expansion of slavery, and Disney World. — Dave

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Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393541564
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 23rd, 2021

The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernández

While reading The Compton Cowboys, what struck me most—and most often—were the relentless challenges, hurdles, roadblocks, and grief that the riders, the students, and the founder of the Compton Jr. Posse, Mayisha Akbar, had to overcome every day to keep on going. Olympic-caliber high jumpers, women rodeo champions, recovering gang members, and kids dodging trouble after school, The Compton Cowboys are part of a centuries-old tradition of Black riders in America. — Dave

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The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062910615
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - April 20th, 2021

Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir by Elizabeth Miki Brina

Brina weaves her own life—from a desperate attempt to camouflage herself with a variety of punk hair colors, doomed attempts at relationships, and her first ever conversation with her mother in Japanese as an adult—together with that of her mother, a survivor of the Battle of Okinawa and a war bride living unhappily in America. The deep scars of the battle, and the ongoing US military occupation of Okinawa, show in the trauma and healing between them. — Dave

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Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525657347
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - February 23rd, 2021

Devil in a Blue Dress: An Easy Rawlins Novel, 30th Anniversary Edition by Walter Mosley

Thirty years ago, Walter Mosley busted open the LA noir crime novel, taking us to the backroom gin joints that Chandler never could. His laid-off worker turned detective, Easy Rawlins, has to navigate the racist seamier underside of the seamy underside of Los Angeles that most fictional gumshoes tread. It's a smoke-filled, bourbon-soaked, jazz-fueled and intensely atmospheric trek through the Harlem of the West Coast, expanding the idea of what LA noir could mean. Still one of the best detective novels I’ve read. — Dave

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Devil in a Blue Dress (30th Anniversary Edition): An Easy Rawlins Novel (Easy Rawlins Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982150341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - October 6th, 2020

The Blessing and the Curse by Adam Kirsch

Adam Kirsch surveys themes of alienation in the Old World, assimilation in America, and newfound nationhood in Israel, bringing to light, or profoundly illuminating, some of the great works of Jewish literature. He ends with a selection of Judaism’s formative religious responses to the 20th century, from philosophical to feminist. His fascinating and enjoyably readable prose made me want to read, or reread, almost every one. I believe I will.  — Dave

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The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393652406
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 6th, 2020

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore

This is sort of a history of late-stage 20th-century America, seen through the lens of the Simulmatics Corporation. Their forays into big-data human manipulation during the Kennedy election and Vietnam War would later metastasize into Facebook, Google, and the coinfections of Fancy Bear and Cambridge Analytics. Liberal social scientists with a plan to help elect liberal politicians turned, for the most part, into counterinsurgency consultants. But we did get FB likes and targeted ads out of it, so cool, right? — Dave

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If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631496103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - September 15th, 2020

Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas by Roberto Lovato

Ranging back and forth between the United States and El Salvador, and from the ‘30s of his father’s childhood to his own journey of discovery, Roberto Lovato uncovers the history, trauma, resilience, and love which powers Salvadoreños across the Americas. From the US supported massacres of the indigenous people of El Salvador, to the ongoing gang and immigration hysteria, Lovato uncovers how unforgetting our history lets us begin to heal. Go on this journey with him. You won’t forget it.  —Dave

This book is part of our Fall Reading Challenge. Read more here.


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Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062938473
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - September 1st, 2020

Cool Is Everywhere New and Adaptive Design Across America by Michel Arnaud

Kind of a cross between “how to save your medium-sized city” and “architectural repurposing porn,” this book by an architectural photographer has almost got me ready to head out on the road to see what other kinds of awesome I’ve been missing. Case studies highlight Oakland, Portland, Austin, and Denver in the West as well as Rust Belt jewels and Southern revitalization in action. Cool Is Everywhere discusses gentrification and the unequal distribution of the benefits of urban recovery, but mostly it’s a naked-brick-and-stripped-hardwood-floor blueprint for saving your city, one abandoned factory at a time.

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Cool Is Everywhere: New and Adaptive Design Across America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419738227
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams - June 2nd, 2020


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