History | Prepub Alert, April 2024 Titles

Deeply readable titles ranging across Indigenous history, the story of shipwrecks, poetry and WWI, and the miracle of silk. 








DuVal, Kathleen. Native Nations: A Millennium in North America. Random. Apr. 2024. 752p. ISBN 9780525511038. $38. HIST

Historian DuVal (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution) spent five years researching this sweeping yet detailed account of Indigenous history that considers 1,000 years of sovereignty, power dynamics, global influence, governing systems, and adaptation.

Gibbins, David. A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781250325372. $32. HIST

Maritime archaeologist and adventure/historical-fiction novelist Gibbins (author of the “Jack Howard” and “Total War” series) turns to nonfiction with a lively consideration of exploration, ranging from the Bronze Age through the Viking era, to doomed quests to the Arctic. Gibbins details the treasure and lives lost and the meaning of the voyages writ large.

Korda, Michael. Muse of Fire: World War One as Seen Through the Lives of the Soldier Poets. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781631496882. $29.99. HIST

Novelist, memoirist, biographer, and a former editor in chief of S. & S., Korda offers a history of WWI as understood through the experiences of soldier-poets including Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg, and Siegfried Sassoon. The result is a mix of poetical exploration and social and military history, offering a new lens through which to mark National Poetry Month.

Lance, Rachel. Chamber Divers: The Untold Story of the D-Day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever. Dutton. Apr. 2024. 448p. ISBN 9780593184936. $32. HIST

Of the many lives put at risk during D-Day operations, one small group included scientific researchers inventing mini-submersibles which they tested in pressure tanks in London—during the Blitz. Their story, filled with maverick characters and including a romance, is based on newly declassified information. Lance, a biomedical engineer, knows the mechanics, having built underwater equipment for the SEALs.

Larman, Alexander. Power and Glory: Elizabeth II and the Rebirth of Royalty. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781250289599. $32. HIST

Larman completes his three-book consideration of Queen Elizabeth II’s ascension (after The Windsors at War and The Crown in Crisis) with a study of how the monarchy survived, and how Elizabeth thrived, in the wake of World War II, forging a new global image and power base for royalty.

Ohler, Norman. Tripped: Nazi Germany, the CIA, and the Dawn of the Psychedelic Age. Mariner. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780358646501. $29.99. HIST

Best seller Ohler (Blitzed) offers a propulsive history of U.S. drug use and policy, tracing it through the history of the German Third Reich’s efforts to find a truth serum. The CIA, interested in what was happening in Germany, also used drugs in its brainwashing programs. All of this, argues Ohler, underpins how the U.S. currently understands and controls psychedelics.

Prasad, Aarathi. Silk: A World History. Morrow. Apr. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780063160255. $32.50. HIST

Scientist Prasad (Like a Virgin: How Science Is Redesigning the Rules of Sex) offers a microhistory of one of the world’s most luxurious fabrics, rooted in worms, crossing cultures and epochs, and dependent on science and secrets. The book reaches widely, from biology to art to ancient trade routes; even spiders and mollusks get attention.

Sides, Hampton. The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook. Doubleday. Apr. 2024. 432p. ISBN 9780385544764. $35. HIST

Award-winning and best-selling Sides (On Desperate Ground; In the Kingdom of Ice; Ghost Soldiers) turns his attention to Captain James Cook, his last sailing, and his death in Hawai‘i. Sides uses Cook, a key figure in the Age of Exploration, not just to proffer a biography or an adventure saga but also to consider the still-reverberating impacts of the European voyages.

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