The War Before the War

The War Before the War by Andrew Delbanco

About This Book

For decades after its founding, America was really two nations–one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the “united” states was actually a lie. Fugitive slaves exposed the contradiction between the myth that slavery was a benign institution and the reality that a nation based on the principle of human equality was in fact a prison-house in which millions of Americans had no rights at all. By awakening northerners to the true nature of slavery, and by enraging southerners who demanded the return of their human “property,” fugitive slaves forced the nation to confront the truth about itself.

By 1850, with America on the verge of collapse, Congress reached what it hoped was a solution– the notorious Compromise of 1850, which required that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Like so many political compromises before and since, it was a deal by which white Americans tried to advance their interests at the expense of black Americans. Yet the Fugitive Slave Act, intended to preserve the Union, in fact set the nation on the path to civil war. It divided not only the American nation, but also the hearts and minds of Americans who struggled with the timeless problem of when to submit to an unjust law and when to resist.

The fugitive slave story illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.

The Truths We Hold

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

About This Book

“From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country. By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, andleadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively smallnumber of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue tosustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come”– Provided by publisher.

Girl Talk

Girl Talk by Jacqueline Mroz

About This Book

A veteran science reporter’s investigation into the fascinating and distinctive nature of women’s friendships

In Girl Talk , New York Times science reporter Jacqueline Mroz takes on the science of female friendship–a phenomenon that’s as culturally powerful as it is individually mysterious. She examines friendship from a range of angles, from the historical to the experiential, with a scientific analysis that reveals new truths about what leads us to connect and build alliances, and then “break up” when a friendship no longer serves us.

Mroz takes a new look at how friendship has evolved throughout history, showing how friends tend to share more genetic commonalities than strangers, and that the more friends we have, the more empathy and pleasure chemicals are present in our brains. Scientists have also reported that friendship directly influences health and longevity; women with solid, supportive friendships experience fewer “fight or flight” impulses and stronger heart function, and women without friendships tend to develop medical challenges on par with those associated with smoking and excessive body weight.

With intimate reporting and insightful analysis, Mroz reveals new awareness about the impact of women’s friendships, and how they shape our culture at large.

Punishment Without Crime

Punishment Without Crime by Alexandra Natapoff

About This Book

Punishment Without Crime provides a sweeping and revelatory new account of America’s broken criminal justice system from the perspective of the paradigmatic American crime-the lowly misdemeanor. While felony trials grab headlines, the petty offense system is far more representative of criminal justice as most Americans actually encounter it. Petty offenses make up 80 percent of state and local criminal dockets; over 13 million misdemeanor cases are filed every year, four times the number of felony cases. Misdemeanors are one of the largest and most unappreciated causes of our criminal system’s size and its harshness-and a crucial source of American inequality.

Misdemeanor cases are by definition “minor,” but their impact is not. Each year, the petty offense process sweeps millions of people from arrest to a guilty plea or conviction. In effect, police get to decide who will be convicted of minor crimes, simply by arresting them for offenses like driving on a suspended licenses, marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, and loitering. In thousands of low-level courts around the country, prosecutors do little vetting, most defendants lack lawyers, legal rules and evidence are often ignored, and judges process cases in minutes or even seconds. The consequences are serious and lasting: stigmatizing criminal records, burdensome fines, jail for those who can’t afford to pay bail or fees, and collateral effects including loss of jobs, housing, and benefits.

Punishment Without Crime offers an urgent new explanation for America’s racial and economic inequalities, showing starkly how misdemeanor arrests and prosecutions brand vast numbers of disadvantaged Americans as criminals and punish them accordingly. For the first time, prize-winning legal scholar Alexandra Natapoff illuminates the full scale, scope, and workings of the misdemeanor process, drawing on never-before-compiled data as well as revealing narrative examples. The misdemeanor system, she reveals, targets and stigmatizes racial minorities as “criminals,” exacerbates economic inequality by funding its own operation through fines and fees, and produces wrongful convictions on a massive scale.

How Democracies Die

How Democracies Die

About This Book

How Democracies Die comes at exactly the right moment.”—The Washington PostDonald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.

Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness

Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness

About This Book

Discover what really matters in life with hygge
___________

To me, hygge is:
· Meeting my sister for a walk in the park, chatting, laughing and clowning around, as if we were children again.
· Listening to the rain on the roof with a cup of tea and my boyfriend next to me.
· Drinking wine in my mum’s garden.
· Enjoying a cup of coffee with good friends, that becomes a dinner, that becomes a late-night drink, because no one wants the evening to end.
____________

We all know the feeling of hygge instinctively, but few of us ever manage to capture it for more than a moment.
Now Danish actress and hygge aficionado Marie Tourell Søderberg has travelled the length and breadth of her home country to create the perfect guide to cooking, decorating, entertaining and being inspired the hygge way.

Full of beautiful photographs and simple, practical steps and ideas to make your home and life both comfortable and cheering all year round, this book is the easy way to introduce hygge into your life.