A Good American Family -- David Maraniss

Staff Pick

Elliott Maraniss was a talented newspaperman when, in 1952, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee for his communist affiliations. He lost his job and was blacklisted for five years, yet retained his faith in the United States and went on eventually to a successful career in journalism. In A Good American Family, David Maraniss tells his dad’s story along with the stories of others who were in the Committee hearing room—members of the Committee, his dad’s lawyer, and the FBI informant who named him. Through these individual histories, David explores what it means to be an American. On one level, the book is a touching family tale about a son’s search for his father’s past, but on a larger level it’s a resonant story with enduring universal significance, a story of courage, conviction, betrayal, political opportunism, reckoning, and ultimately American identity.





A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father By David Maraniss Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501178375
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 14th, 2019

Places and Names -- Elliot Ackerman

Staff Pick

A decorated former Marine turned journalist turned author, Elliot Ackerman has written three acclaimed novels since 2015 and now a memoir. In Places and Names, he offers a real-life accounting, writing with the same urgency, passion, and attention characteristic of his novels and with the same penetrating examination of the meaning and costs of war. He does this through a series of essays as he travels to conflict zones, old battlefields, and refugee camps, looking back on his war experiences from different angles. The result is not only an intensely personal book about the purpose and impact of war but also a meditation on the larger meaning of the past two decades of America’s ill-fated involvement in the Middle East.




Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning By Elliot Ackerman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525559962
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - June 11th, 2019

Late Migrations -- Margaret Renkl

Staff Pick

Equal parts family memoir and natural history, Renkl’s collection of lyrical vignettes is a true hybrid; as much a product of “piney woods and…birdsong and running creeks” as she is of several Alabama-bred generations, Renkl gracefully and often tellingly alternates stories of great grand--, grand- and parents with accounts of the bluebirds, cedar waxwings, monarch caterpillars, and orb weaver spiders in her Nashville yard. Recounted with vivid details and deep affection, these stories celebrate Renkl’s connections to people and nature but also acknowledge that “the cycle of life might as well be called the cycle of death.” Loss is a constant presence here—loss by illness, accident, age, depression, miscarriage, pesticide, and rat snake. But Renkl’s grief is so intimately tied to love that her fine observations—of her mother’s sudden, startling end, her father’s long last breaths, the shocking disappearance of nestlings—make the pain bearable. And as Renkl admits early in this beautiful book, “I am no scientist, but the flipside of ignorance is astonishment, and I am good at astonishment.” She sure is.


Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss By Margaret Renkl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313782
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - July 9th, 2019