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Title Author Description
book image The Crisis of the European Mind: 1680–1715
Crisis of the European Mind
Paul Hazard
+ Description

In this landmark of intellectual history, Paul Hazard looks at the period leading up the Enlightenment, years which saw the erosion of the classical values of respect for tradition, stability, and proportion, as well as a growing awareness of non-European cultures. Hazard captures the excitement of a revolution, the impact of which continues to be felt in our own time.
Contributors: Anthony Grafton , J. Lewis May

book image Voltaire in Love
Voltaire in Love
Nancy Mitford
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The inimitable Nancy Mitford’s account of Voltaire’s 16-year affair with Émilie du Châtelet—a renowned mathematician and scientist—is a spirited romp in the company of two extraordinary individuals as well as an erudite and gossipy guide to the French Enlightenment. “Voltaire in Love caps [Mitford's] career as the nonpareil popular biographer of that era.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
Contributors: Adam Gopnik

book image The Stammering Century
Stammering Century
Gilbert Seldes
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19th-century America bred fads, cults, and new religions as perhaps no other time or place ever has. Writing without judgement, but with plenty of verve, Seldes profiles the charismatic and often off-kilter leaders of these movements and sketches their hidden histories.
Contributors: Greil Marcus

book image When The World Spoke French
When The World Spoke French
Marc Fumaroli
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If you were a writer, thinker, or lover of la douceur de vivre (the sweetness of life) during the 17th century, you conversed and corresponded in French. Eminent scholar Fumaroli has here assembled an unparalleled collection of the most fascinating figures from the period and brought together their rarely seen writings originally penned in French. Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Howard translates.
Contributors: Richard Howard

book image The Judges of the Secret Court
Judges of the Secret Court
David Stacton
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Stacton’s historical recreation of John Wilkes Booth’s plot to assassinate Lincoln, its execution, and its aftermath (including the trials of the conspirators, Mary Surratt among them) is among the finest books ever written about the Civil War. “David Stacton is an original, finely pitched voice in American fiction.” —Larry McMurtry
Contributors: John Crowley

book image Reveille in Washington: 1860–1865
Reveille in Washington
Margaret Leech
+ Description

This Pulitzer Prize–winning view of Washington during the Civil War forgoes the battlefield to focus on the daily life, political intrigues, and social currents of the young capital. Leech brings to life extravagant dinner parties, saloon backrooms, makeshift barracks, and White House halls. "Packed and running over with the anecdotes, scandals, personalities, and tragi-comedies of the day." —The New Yorker
Contributors: James M. McPherson

book image Defeat: Napoleon's Russian Campaign
Philippe-Paul de Ségur
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Ségur's eye-witness account of what remains one of the greatest military disasters of all time is a masterpiece of military history and was an essential source for Tolstoy's War and Peace. It is also a reminder of the risks of imperial hubris.
Contributors: Mark Danner , J. David Townsend

book image Miami and the Siege of Chicago
Miami and the Siege of Chicago
Norman Mailer
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1968 was one of the most tumultuous years in American politics and society, the effects of which reverberate today. Norman Mailer was on the ground, covering Nixon's relentlessly stage-managed nomination in Miami as well as the Democratic convention in Chicago—where the violence at the heart of the American dream exploded on the streets.
Contributors: Frank Rich

book image Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States
Names on the Land
George R. Stewart
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Organized thematically (sample chapters: "Yankee Flavor," "America Discovers Columbus," and "How Names Were Symbols of Empire") this lighthearted book will be a delight for anyone who ever wondered how their hometown, or (more likely) the next town over, could be called that.
Contributors: Matt Weiland

book image Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists
Born Under Saturn
Margot and Rudolf Wittkower
+ Description

A rare art history classic that The New York Times calls a "delightful, scholarly and gossipy romp through the character and conduct of artists from antiquity to the French Revolution."
Contributors: Joseph Connors