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The Court-Martial of Paul Revere

A Son of Liberty and America's Forgotten Military Disaster

Michael M. Greenburg

At the height of the American Revolution in 1779, Massachusetts launched the Penobscot Expedition, a massive military and naval undertaking designed to force the British from the strategically important coast of Maine. What should have been an easy victory for the larger American force quickly descended into a quagmire of arguing, disobedience, and failed strategy. In the end, not only did the British retain their stronghold, but the entire flotilla of American vessels was lost in what became the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor.

In the inevitable finger-pointing that followed the debacle, the already-famous Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere, commissioned as the expedition’s artillery commander, was shockingly charged by fellow officers with neglect of duty, disobeying orders, and cowardice. Though he was not formally condemned by the court of inquiry, rumors still swirled around Boston concerning his role in the disaster, and so the fiery Revere spent the next several years of his life actively pursuing a court-martial, in an effort to resuscitate the one thing he valued above all—his reputation.

The single event defining Revere to this day is his ride from Charlestown to Lexington on the night of April 18, 1775, made famous by Longfellow’s poem of 1860. Greenburg’s is the first book to give a full account of Revere’s conduct before, during, and after the disastrous Penobscot Expedition, and of his questionable reputation at the time, which only Longfellow’s poem eighty years later could rehabilitate. Thanks to extensive research and a riveting narrative that brings the battles and courtroom drama to life, The Court-Martial of Paul Revere strips away the myths that surround the Sons of Liberty and reveals the humanity beneath. It is a must-read for anyone who yearns to understand the early days of our country.

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Critical Hours

Search and Rescue in the White Mountains

Sandy Stott

A misread map, a sudden storm, a forgotten headlamp—and suddenly a leisurely hike can become a treacherous endeavor. In the past decade, cheap but sophisticated navigation devices and mobile phones have led to shocking levels of overconfidence on the trail. On top of this worrisome trend, the increasing popularity of mountain terrain has led those seeking solitude—or adrenaline—into increasingly remote or edgy forays. Sandy Stott, the “Accidents” editor at the journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club, delivers both a history and a celebration of the search-and-rescue workers who save countless lives in the White Mountains—along with a plea for us not to take their steadfastness and bravery for granted. Filled with tales of astonishing courage and sobering tragedy, Critical Hours will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and armchair adventurers alike.

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Danger on the Page

A Fiction Writer's Guide to Sex, Violence, Dead Narrators, and Other Challenges

Brian Shawver

Although fiction writers must concern themselves with “big picture” issues such as plot, theme, and character development, much of the day-to-day work of writing involves finding answers to seemingly minor questions: How should I describe the exterior of a house? How can I construct the voice of a historical narrator with authenticity? How should I depict a physically atypical character? Few books on the market address the problems and opportunities present in these and other questions, yet they are the ones that most writers grapple with on a daily basis.

Danger on the Page: A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Sex, Violence, Dead Narrators, and Other Challenges identifies and explores some of the more common and intractable situational challenges of fiction writing, with chapters grouped into the general subject areas such as scenes, characters, points of view, and settings. Shawver delves into the pitfalls and opportunities of writing about sex, violence, sports, and love; he examines writing from the perspective of a different race, gender, or species; he interrogates conventional beliefs about the use of brand names, the description of architecture, and the portrayal of nature. Throughout, he gives dozens of examples from both literary and commercial fiction so readers can borrow (or reject) other writers’ techniques and explore the myriad challenges of fiction writing on their own.

A lively and witty approach to a diverse range of specific writing issues, Shawver’s book will appeal especially to intermediate-level writers seeking to bring their craft to the next level.

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Death by Cyanide

The Murder of Dr. Autumn Klein

Paula Reed Ward

At just forty-one years old, Dr. Autumn Klein, a neurologist specializing in seizure disorders in pregnant women, had already been named chief of women’s neurology at Pittsburgh’s largest health system. More than just successful in her field, Dr. Klein was beloved—by her patients, colleagues, family, and friends. She collapsed suddenly on April 17, 2013, writhing in agony on her kitchen floor, and died three days later. The police said her husband, Dr. Robert Ferrante, twenty-three years Klein’s senior, killed her through cyanide poisoning. Though Ferrante left a clear trail of circumstantial evidence, Klein’s death from cyanide might have been overlooked if not for the investigators who were able to use Ferrante’s computer, statements from the staff at his lab, and his own seemingly odd actions at the hospital during his wife’s treatment to piece together what appeared to be a long-term plan to end his wife’s life.

In Death by Cyanide, Paula Reed Ward, reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, describes the murder investigation and the trial in this sensational case, taking us from the poisoning and the medical staff’s heroic measures to save Klein’s life to the investigation of Ferrante and the emotion and drama inside the courtroom.

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The Decibel Diaries

A Journey through Rock in 50 Concerts

Carter Alan

Sometimes a rock concert is more than just an event. Every so often a band’s performance becomes a musical milestone, a cultural watershed, a political statement, and a personal apotheosis. On any given night a rock concert can tell the truth about who we are, where we are, and what’s going on in music and life right now.

In The Decibel Diaries, Carter Alan, longtime DJ and music director at WZLX in Boston, chronicles a lifetime in rock with a tour through fifty concerts that defined such moments—from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young playing in the rain when Richard Nixon resigned to Talking Heads and the first stirrings of punk in the basement bars of New York and Boston to the bluegrass angel Alison Krauss and the adaptable veteran Robert Plant forging a plangent, plaintive postmodern synergy. For each event Alan shows us what it was like to be there and telescopes out to reveal how this show fit into the arc of the artist’s career, the artist’s place in music, and the music’s place in the wider world. Taken together, The Decibel Diaries is a visceral and visionary portrait of nearly fifty years of rock ’n’ roll.

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Deluge

Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself

Peggy Shinn

On August 28, 2011, after pounding the Caribbean and the U.S. Eastern seaboard for more than a week, Hurricane Irene finally made landfall in New Jersey. As the storm headed into New England, it was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm. And by Sunday afternoon, national news outlets were giving postmortems on the damage. Except for some flooding in low-lying areas, New York City--Irene's biggest target--had escaped its worst-case scenario. Story over.

But the story wasn't over. As Irene's eye drifted north, its bands of heavy rains twisted westward over Vermont's Green Mountains. The mountains forced these bands upward, wringing the rain out of them like water from a sponge. Streams and rivers were transformed into torrents of brown water and debris, gouging mountainsides, reshaping valleys, washing out roads, pulling apart bridges, and carrying away homes, livestock, and automobiles. For weeks, mountain towns were isolated, with no way in or out, and thousands of people were left homeless. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, it fell on the shoulders of ordinary Vermonters to help victims and rebuild the state.

Deluge is the complete story of the floods, the rescue, and the recovery, as seen through the eyes of the people who lived through them: Wilmington's Lisa Sullivan, whose bookstore was flooded, and town clerk Susie Haughwout, who saved the town records; Tracy Payne, who lost her home in Jamaica--everything in it, and the land on which it sat; Geo Honigford in South Royalton, who lost his crops, but put his own mess on hold to help others in the town; the men who put U.S. Route 4 back together at breakneck speed; and the entire village of Pittsfield, completely isolated after the storm, and its inspirational story of real community.

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Denman Ross and American Design Theory

Marie Frank

In this masterful intellectual and cultural biography of Denman Ross (1853–1935), the American design theorist, educator, art collector, and painter who taught at Harvard for over 25 years, Marie Frank has produced a significant artistic resurrection. An important regional figure in Boston’s fine arts scene (he remains one of the largest single donors to the collections of the MFA to this day), Ross was a friend and colleague of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bernard Berenson, Jay Hambidge, and others. He gained national and international renown with his design theory, which ushered in a shift from John Ruskin’s romantic naturalism to the formalist aesthetic that characterizes modern art and architecture. Ross’s theory attracted artists, Arts and Crafts artisans, and architects, and helped shape architectural education, scholarship, and museum practices. This biography of an important intellectual figure is also a fascinating and illuminating guide to a pivotal point in American cultural history and a reminder of the days when Boston was America’s salon.

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Dining Out in Boston

A Culinary History

James C. O'Connell

Over the years, Boston has been one of America’s leading laboratories of urban culture, including restaurants, and Boston history provides valuable insights into American food ways. James C. O’Connell, in this fascinating look at more than two centuries of culinary trends in Boston restaurants, presents a rich and hitherto unexplored side to the city’s past. Dining Out in Boston shows that the city was a pioneer in elaborate hotel dining, oyster houses, French cuisine, student hangouts, ice cream parlors, the twentieth-century revival of traditional New England dishes, and contemporary locavore and trendy foodie culture. In these stories of the most-beloved Boston restaurants of yesterday and today—illustrated with an extensive collection of historic menus, postcards, and photos—O’Connell reveals a unique history sure to whet the intellectual and nostalgic appetite of Bostonians and restaurant-goers the world over.

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Dinner in Camelot

The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House

Joseph A. Esposito

In April 1962, President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy hosted forty-nine Nobel Prize winners—along with many other prominent scientists, artists, and writers—at a famed White House dinner. Among the guests were J. Robert Oppenheimer, who was officially welcomed back to Washington after a stint in the political wilderness; Linus Pauling, who had picketed the White House that very afternoon; William and Rose Styron, who began a fifty-year friendship with the Kennedy family that night; James Baldwin, who would later discuss civil rights with Attorney General Robert Kennedy; Mary Welsh Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s widow, who sat next to the president and grilled him on Cuba policy; John Glenn, who had recently orbited the earth aboard Friendship 7; historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who argued with Ava Pauling at dinner; and many others. Actor Frederic March gave a public recitation after the meal, including some unpublished work of Hemingway’s that later became part of Islands in the Stream.

Held at the height of the Cold War, the dinner symbolizes a time when intellectuals were esteemed, divergent viewpoints could be respectfully discussed at the highest level, and the great minds of an age might all dine together in the rarefied glamour of “the people’s house.”

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Dirigible Dreams

The Age of the Airship

C. Michael Hiam

Here is the story of airships—manmade flying machines without wings—from their earliest beginnings to the modern era of blimps. In postcards and advertisements, the sleek, silver, cigar-shaped airships, or dirigibles, were the embodiment of futuristic visions of air travel. They immediately captivated the imaginations of people worldwide, but in less than fifty years dirigible became a byword for doomed futurism, an Icarian figure of industrial hubris. Dirigible Dreams looks back on this bygone era, when the future of exploration, commercial travel, and warfare largely involved the prospect of wingless flight. In Dirigible Dreams, C. Michael Hiam celebrates the legendary figures of this promising technology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the doomed polar explorers S. A. Andrée and Walter Wellman, and the great Prussian inventor and promoter Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, among other pivotal figures—and recounts fascinating stories of exploration, transatlantic journeys, and floating armadas that rained death during World War I. While there were triumphs, such as the polar flight of the Norge, most of these tales are of disaster and woe, culminating in perhaps the most famous disaster of all time, the crash of the Hindenburg.

This story of daring men and their flying machines, dreamers and adventurers who pushed modern technology to—and often beyond—its limitations, is an informative and exciting mix of history, technology, awe-inspiring exploits, and warfare that will captivate readers with its depiction of a lost golden age of air travel. Readable and authoritative, enlivened by colorful characters and nail-biting drama, Dirigible Dreams will appeal to a new generation of general readers and scholars interested in the origins of modern aviation.

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