From Empires of the Steppes to the Founding of NOW: History, Aug. 2023, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Weaving the loom of time.

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Harl, Kenneth W. Empires of the Steppes: A History of the Nomadic Tribes Who Shaped Civilization. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Aug. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781335429278. $32.99. CD. HISTORY

The Huns, the Mongols, the Magyars, the Turks, the Xiongnu, the Scythians, the Goths—all were nomadic tribes that emerged from the Eurasian steppes, and all mightily shaped world history even though they were labeled barbarian by successive generations in the West. Tulane professor Harl tells their story; see also Anthony Sattin’s recently published Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World.

Kaplan, Robert D. The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy from the Mediterranean to China. Random. Aug. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780593242797. $28.99. HISTORY

Noted for his engaging and ongoing look at geopolitics in books ranging from Balkan Ghosts to Adriatic, Kaplan goes beyond a regional focus to take in a wide swath of the world—“from the Mediterranean to China”—as he assesses the consequences of—and concerted resistance to—clashing empires.

Mahdavi, Pardis. Book of Queens: The True Story of the Middle Eastern Horsewomen Who Fought the War on Terror. Hachette. Aug. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780306832130. $29. Downloadable. HISTORY

University of Montana provost Mahdavi limns the relationship between women and the Caspian horse, an ancient Iranian breed returned from the brink by U.S.-born Iranian horse breeder Louise Firouz, who intersected with the author’s family. Mahdavi opens with the woman who rode into battle during the Persian Empire, then moves to her Iranian grandmother’s smuggling victims of domestic violence to Afghan oases run by women warriors, to the women who trained horses used by U.S. Green Berets in the region in the early 2000s. With a 20,000-copy first printing.

Neguse, Joe. Courage in the People's House: Nine Trailblazing Representatives Who Shaped America. S. & S. Aug. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781982191672. $30. CD. HISTORY

Neguse, the first Black American elected to Congress from Colorado, here profiles nine key U.S. representatives who have made a difference, ranging from Joseph Rainey (South Carolina), the first Black American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives to the redoubtable Margaret Chase Smith (Maine) and visionary Texans Henry B. González and Barbara Jordan.

Sanderson, Sarah L. The Place We Make: Breaking the Legacy of Legalized Hate. Waterbrook: Random. Aug. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9780593444733. $25. HISTORY

In 1851, the biracial Jacob Vanderpool was expelled from the Oregon Territory for violating its Exclusion Law, which banned people of African descent. Sanderson not only chronicles this little-known event but, upon discovering that she was distantly related to the pastor responsible for Vanderpool’s prosecution, ponders her own unconscious biases and her responsibilities in light of her ancestor’s racism.

Stark, Peter. Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison’s Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation. Random. Aug. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9780593133613. $28.99. HISTORY

In the early 1800s, Shawnee warrior Tecumseh traveled from Minnesota to Florida to the Great Plains to persuade wide-ranging Indigenous peoples to join him in resistance to U.S. expansion. In a bid to control U.S. power, the British backed Tecumseh’s confederacy in battles along the western front during the War of 1812, where he faced off against future U.S. president William Henry Harrison. The New York Times best-selling Stark (Astoria) tells the story.

Turk, Katherine. The Women of NOW: How Feminists Built an Organization That Transformed America. Farrar. Aug. 2023. 448p. ISBN 9780374601539. $32. Downloadable. CD. HISTORY

Author of the award-winning Equality on Trial, Turk chronicles the founding, growth, and impact of the National Organization of Women by focusing on three key but lesser-known members: Aileen Hernandez, a federal official of Jamaican American heritage; Mary Jean Collins, a working-class union organizer; and Patricia Hill Burnett, a Michigan Republican and former beauty queen. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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