Medieval Manuscripts, Founding Partisans & Money Kings: History Previews, Nov. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Epic stories. 

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Brands, H.W. Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams and the Brawling Birth of American Politics. Doubleday. Nov. 2023. 464p. ISBN 9780385549240. $32.50. lrg. prnt. HISTORY

Though the Founding Fathers despised the partisan politics in Britain that contributed to their own woes before the Revolution, they immediately fell into parties once the Revolution was done: Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists, ready to tear up the Articles of Confederation, faced off against Thomas Jefferson’s Antifederalists, forerunner of today’s Republicans. Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Brands chronicles the political brawl.

Clavin, Tom. The Last Outlaws: The Desperate Final Days of the Dalton Gang. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781250282385. $30. Downloadable. HISTORY

“The last outlaws”: the Dalton Gang, four brothers and an ever-shifting bunch of cohorts who graduated from horse thieving to robbing banks and trains in a bid to outdo infamous Jesse James. On October 5, 1892, the gang decided on the daytime robbery of two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville, KS, and met a bloody fate when townsfolk fought back. From the No. 1 New York Times best-selling Clavin.

Conway, Ed. Material World: The Six Raw Materials That Shape Modern Civilization. Knopf. Nov. 2023. 496p. ISBN 9780593534342. $35. HISTORY

Never mind all the time we spend working and playing online; we’re still rooted in the material world, having extracted more materials from the earth in 2017 alone than we did throughout all of human history before 1950. Wincott Foundation–winning British journalist Conway reveals how six materials in particular—sand, salt, iron, copper, oil, and lithium—have radically shaped human history.

Daunton, Martin. The Economic Government of the World: 1933–2023. Farrar. Nov. 2023. 1024p. ISBN 9780374146412. $45. HISTORY

Emeritus Professor of Economic History at the University of Cambridge, Daunton assays the global economy in the last nine decades, starting with the trade and currency warfare during the Great Depression that led to the rise of economic nationalism and, finally, war. As he shows, World War II spawned a liberal economic order that foundered in the 1970s, to be replaced by neoliberalism and hyper-globalization, and Covid is rewriting the rules once again. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

de Hamel, Christopher. The Manuscripts Club: The People Behind a Thousand Years of Medieval Manuscripts. Penguin Pr. Nov. 2023. 624p. ISBN9780525559412. $50. Downloadable. HISTORY

Following Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, given Wolfson and Duff Cooper honors, this work focuses on the people who created those gorgeous illuminated manuscripts of Europe or helped preserve them over time. Among them: a monk in Normandy, a priest and a prince in France, a Florentine bookseller, connoisseurs and a museum keeper in Britain, a central European rabbi, a Greek forger, a German polymath, and a U.S. woman who built a grand library.

Englund, Peter. November 1942: An Intimate History of the Turning Point of World War II. Knopf. Nov. 2023. 496p. ISBN 9781524733315. $32. HISTORY

In early November 1942, the Axis powers were looking tough to beat. Then came El-Alamein, Guadalcanal, the French North Africa landings, the Japanese retreat in New Guinea, and the Soviet encirclement of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad. Englund, a member of the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize, draws on letters, memoirs, and diaries to capture this turning point through the individual stories of soldiers and citizens.

Hale, Grace Elizabeth. In the Pines: A Lynching, a Lie, a Reckoning. Little, Brown. Nov. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9780316564748. $29. Downloadable. HISTORY

University of Virginia professor Hale grew up in Mississippi hearing the family legend of how in 1947, her sheriff grandfather prevented the lynching of a Black man named Versie Johnson, suspected of raping a white woman, only to have the man die a suicide in jail. Later, as a rising scholar of white supremacy, she dove deeply into the story and discovered that there really was lynching, and her grandfather was not innocent. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Melville, Doug. Invisible Generals: Rediscovering Family Legacy, and a Quest to Honor America’s First Black Generals. Black Privilege: Atria. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781668005132. $27.99. HISTORY

Investigating his family’s longtime history of service, Melville uncovered the story of two men whose stories need to be told: the first Black U.S. generals, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. and Jr., who helped integrate the American military and created the Tuskegee Airmen. As he relates their accomplishments, Melville encourages readers to persevere, advocate for the silenced, and allow their ancestors’ victories to shape their own visions.

Schulman, Daniel. The Money Kings: The Epic Story of the Jewish Immigrants Who Transformed Wall Street and Shaped Modern America. Knopf. Nov. 2023. 592p. ISBN 9780451493545. $35. CD. HISTORY

Goldman, Sachs, Kuhn, Loeb, Warburg, Schiff, Lehman, Seligman. You know their names, now here are the stories of the German Jewish immigrants who launched modern finance, helping to lift the United States from debtor nation to financial giant and capitalizing its industry. They also shaped the fate of the millions of eastern European Jews who reached New York harbor in the early 1900s, among them the New York Times best-selling Schulman’s paternal grandparents.

Snow, Richard. Sailing the Graveyard Sea: The Deathly Voyage of the Somers, the U.S. Navy’s Only Mutiny, and the Trial That Gripped the Nation. Scribner. Nov. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781982185442. $29. HISTORY

When the USS Somers docked at Brooklyn Harbor on December 16, 1842, after a training session, Commander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie proclaimed that he had foiled a mutiny and hung three of the ringleaders, among them the son of Secretary of War John Spencer. It was soon suspected that there was no attempted mutiny, just crowd hysteria, leaving the public in an uproar and Mackenzie court martialed. From the former editor in chief of American Heritage.

Ujifusa, Steven. The Last Ships from Hamburg: Business, Rivalry, and the Race to Save Russia’s Jews on the Eve of World War I. Harper. Nov. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780062971876. $32. CD. HISTORY

From 1890 to 1921, 2.5 million Jews escaped the bloodlands of eastern Europe for the United States, including the great grandparents of author Ujifusa (Barons of the Sea). As he recounts, this exodus was facilitated by three businessmen: Jacob Schiff, the managing partner of the investment bank Kuhn, Loeb & Company; Albert Ballin, managing director of the Hamburg-American Line; and J. P. Morgan.

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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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