Black Elk by Joe Jackson
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux

The epic life story of the Native American holy man who has inspired millions around the world.

In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West. Born in an era of rising violence between the Sioux, white settlers, and U.S. government troops, Black Elk killed his first man at the Little Bighorn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and travelled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, before accepting the path of a healer and a holy man.

In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to its subject the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.

Joe Jackson is the author of seven works of nonfiction and a novel. His nonfiction includes Leavenworth Train, a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime; The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire, one of Time magazine’s Top Ten Books of 2008; Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic, and Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary. His novel, How I Left the Great State of Tennessee and Went on to Better Things, was published in March 2004. He is the Mina Hohenberg Darden Endowed Professor of Creative Writing in the M.F.A. creative writing program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy by Heather Thompson 
Pantheon Books

The first definitive history of the infamous 1971 Attica Prison uprising, the state’s violent response, and the victims’ decades-long quest for justice.

On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions. On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath.

Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

Heather Ann Thompson is an award-winning historian at the University of Michigan. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the J. Willard Hurst Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other accolades. She is also the author of Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City and the editor of Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s. She served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. She has written on the history of mass incarceration and its current impact for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, Newsweek, NBC, and The Huffington Post, and more.

Martin Luther by Lyndal Roper
Bodley Head

Reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.

When Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper to the church door of a small university town in 1517, he set off a process that changed the Western world for ever. Luther’s ideas spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity split the Western Church and divided Europe, leading to religious persecution, social unrest and war. In the long run his ideas would help break the grip of religion on every sphere of life. Yet, Luther was a deeply flawed human being.

As an acclaimed historian, Lyndal Roper explains how Luther’s impact can only be understood against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure whose small act of protest turned into an historic battle.

Lyndal Roper is Regius Professor of History at Oxford and one of the most respected historians at work in Britain today. An expert on early modern Germany, her previous books include a study of witchcraft, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany. In 2016 she received the prestigious Gerda Henkel Foundation Prize for her work on Luther and the Reformation. Martin Luther has been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize and the Elizabeth Longford Prize in 2017, and named Book of the Year by A New Statesman, Spectator, Guardian and Sunday Times.

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel 
Allen Lane

An extraordinary exploration of the medieval world - the most beguiling history book of the year.

Coming face to face with an important illuminated manuscript in the original is like meeting a very famous person. Meeting with Remarkable Manuscripts invites the reader into intimate conversations with twelve of the most famous manuscripts in existence and to explore with the author what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and sometimes about the modern world too. Christopher de Hamel introduces us to kings, queens, saints, scribes, artists, librarians, thieves, dealers, collectors and the international community of manuscript scholars, showing us how he and his fellows piece together evidence to reach unexpected conclusions.

Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible.

Christopher de Hamel has probably handled and catalogued more illuminated manuscripts over a wider range than any person alive, in the course of a long career at Sotheby's. Since 2000, he has been Fellow and Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The Parker Library, in his care, includes many of the earliest manuscripts in English language and history. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts won The Wolfson History Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize for non-fiction in 2017.

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald
Simon & Schuster US

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian Frances FitzGerald tells the crucial story of how the Christian evangelical movement has come to play such an influential role in our national culture and politics, from the eighteenth century to the 2016 election.

FitzGerald’s groundbreaking work is the first full account of the place of evangelicals in our history, as well as a foreshadowing of their likely place in our future. FitzGerald describes how a new generation of evangelicals has diverged from the Christian right, altering a critical coalition that has dominated Republican politics for decades.  The result, she predicts, will be an evangelical movement more attuned to its reformist heritage, focused on social justice and the common good, and more able to form alliances with liberals on certain key issues.

Frances FitzGerald is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bancroft Prize, and a prize from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She is the author of Fire in the Lake: the Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam; America Revised: History School Books in the Twentieth Century; Cities on a Hill: A Journey through Contemporary American Cultures; Way Out in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War; and Vietnam: Spirits of the Earth.  She has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and Esquire.  She lives in New York and Maine with her husband.

The House of the Dead: Siberian exile under the Tsars by Daniel Beer
Allen Lane

A new history of how the 19th century Tsars turned Siberia into a vast, brutal prison-camp. It was known as 'the vast prison without a roof'. From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Russian Revolution, the tsarist regime exiled more than one million prisoners and their families beyond the Ural Mountains to Siberia.

The House of the Dead, brings to life both the brutal realities of an inhuman system and the tragic and inspiring fates of those who endured it. This masterly work of original research taps a mass of almost unknown primary evidence held in Russian and Siberian archives to tell the epic story both of Russia's struggle to govern its monstrous penal colony and Siberia's ultimate, decisive impact on the political forces of the modern world.

Daniel Beer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London.  He is the author of Renovating Russia: The Human Sciences and the Fate of Liberal Modernity, 1880-1930, 2008. The House of the Dead has been shortlisted for The Wolfson History Prize, The Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and the Longman History Today Prize, 2017. It was also included in Books of the Year 2016 by The Times, BBC History and TLS.

The Islamic Enlightenment: The struggle between faith and reason, 1798 to modern times by Christopher de Bellaigue 
W. W. Norton & Company

A revelatory and game-changing narrative that rewrites everything we thought we knew about the modern history of the Islamic world.

Christopher de Bellaigue presents an absorbing account of the political and social reformations that transformed the lands of Islam in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Flying in the face of everything we thought we knew, The Islamic Enlightenment becomes an astonishing and revelatory history that offers a game-changing assessment of the Middle East since the Napoleonic Wars.

The Islamic Enlightenment, with its revolutionary argument, completely refutes this view and, in the process, reveals the folly of Westerners demanding modernity from those whose lives are already drenched in it.

Christopher de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in south Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist, the Guardian, and the New York Review of Books. He is the award-winning author of four books including In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize. The Islamic Enlightenment is longlisted for the 2017 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction. He has also made several BBC televisions and radio documentaries, and has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Harvard and Oxford. He lives in London.

Vietnam: A New History
Basic Books

The definitive history of modern Vietnam and its diverse and divided past.

Vietnam today offers a fascinating mosaic of peoples, languages, and cultures—a small nation that is home to over fifty ethnic groups speaking more than a half-dozen different tongues. The country's extraordinary diversity is the legacy of centuries of imperial collisions and ever-shifting political configurations.

A major achievement, Vietnam offers the grand narrative of the country's complex past and the creation of the modern state of Vietnam. At a time when more and more visitors come to Vietnam and Southeast Asia is again at the center of intense global rivalries, this is the definitive single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand Vietnam today.

Christopher Goscha studied at the School of Foreign Service, University of Georgetown (BA), the Australian National University at Canberra (MA), the University Diderot Paris VIII (MA) and l’École des Hautes Études (PhD, La Sorbonne). He joined the history department at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2005. He teaches international relations, world history, the history of colonial and postcolonial Indochina, decolonization and the Indochina Wars. He is the author and editor of numerous books on Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and international relations in English and French. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 by S. A. Smith
Oxford University Press

The Russian Revolution of 1917 transformed the face of the Russian empire, politically, economically, socially, and culturally, and also profoundly affected the course of world history for the rest of the twentieth century. Now, to mark the centenary of this epochal event, historian Steve Smith presents a panoramic account of the history of the Russian empire, from the last years of the nineteenth century, through the First World War and the revolutions of 1917 and the establishment of the Bolshevik regime, to the end of the 1920s, when Stalin simultaneously unleashed violent collectivization of agriculture and crash industrialization upon Russian society.

In doing so, it provides a fresh way into the big, perennial questions about the Revolution and its consequences and reflects on the larger significance of 1917 for the history of the twentieth century - and, for all its terrible flaws, what the promise of the Revolution might mean for us today.

The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Schneidel
Princeton University Press

How only violence and catastrophes have consistently reduced inequality throughout world history.

Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon.

Walter Scheidel is the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and a Kennedy-Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford University. The author or editor of sixteen previous books, he has published widely on premodern social and economic history, demography, and comparative history. He lives in Palo Alto, California.