"Fred Hampton dead body" by Chicago Police Department - from the documentary film The Murder of Fred Hampton Image © Public Domain via Commons

The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the U.S.

Ward Churchill and Jim Van der Wall

Fascinating dissection of the war against “subversives,” everything from assassinations to fomenting race wars.

Publisher: South End
Paperback: 468 pages


Ecology in the 20th Century: A History

Anna Bramwell

Documents the ideas and formulations between of the ideology of the ecology starting with the “blood and soil “ mysticism in both Britain and Germany in the late 19th century to the Third Reich’s “hidden agenda” of ecology. Using the literary background to scientific ecology, the author profiles such authors as Knut Hamsun and Henry Wiliamsom and the German biological ecologist Ernst Heckle. SC

Publisher: Yale University
Paperback: 292 pages

Encyclopedia of Assassinations

Carl Sifakis

Russian religioso Rasputin, Grigory Yefimovich (c. 1892-1916), proved a tough nut to kill. “At the party Rasputin drank glass after glass of poisoned wine and several cakes and chocolates spiked with murderous doses of potassium cyanide. The plotters watched expectantly for Rasputin to keel over dead, but he did not. Instead, Rasputin danced and sang and called on the Prince to play the guitar. According to one later medical theory, Rasputin suffered alcoholic gastritis, with his stomach failing to secrete the hydrochloric acid necessary to get the cyanide compound to work.
“Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, allegedly to get his wife. The Prince returned with a pistol and shot Rasputin… According to some, Rasputin fell to the floor, but as the Prince knelt to examine him, the mystic’s eyes popped open and he seized the Prince by the throat. Yusupov tore himself free and ran to the courtyard with Rasputin in pursuit on all fours. As Rasputin rose to his feet, the Grand Duke shot him in the chest. Another conspirator shot him in the head. Many of the officers used their sabers on Rasputin, and the Prince seized an iron bar and struck the fallen victim several times with savage fury. Finally, the victim lay still, although it was said one eye remained open and staring. The conspirators trussed up the body and heaved it into the Moika Canal.
“Forty-eight hours later the body turned up in the ice of the Neva River. One arm had come free of the bindings, and Rasputin’s lungs were filled with water. Rasputin had still been alive when dumped in the canal and had finally died by drowning.” GR

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 228 pages

Encyclopedia of Black America

Edited by W. Augustus Low and Virgil A. Clift

“A reliable and readable reference that represents in large measure the totality of the past and present life and culture of Afro-Americans,” The Encyclopedia of Black America is a thorough, indispensible survey and summarization of the various major and minor aspects of the history of black Americans. The work of nearly 100 contributors, this volume is an imaginative, balanced accumulation of research, review and coverage presented throughout with scholarship, clarity and reflection. Entries are divided into three categories: articles, biographies and cross references. One drawback, perhaps, is its scale, which necessitates a brevity the editors acknowledge as an unfortunate necessity as the result of space limitations of beyond their control. Nevertheless—and regardless of your specific area of interest—this extraordinary single-volume reference text on Afro-American life and history is an excellent place to begin. MDG

Publisher: Da Capo
Paperback: 921 pages

Essential Writings of Lenin

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

“For anyone who seeks to understand the 20th century, capitalism, the Russian revolution, and the role of communism in the tumultuous political and social movements that have shaped the modern world, the essential works of Lenin offer unparalleled insight and understanding. Taken together, they represent a balanced cross section of his revolutionary theories of history, politics and economics; his tactics for securing and retaining power; and his vision of a new social and economic order.” Includes “What Is To Be Done?,” “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” and “The State and Revolution.”

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 372 pages

The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis

Carroll Quigley

Quigley, the legendary teacher at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and author of Tragedy and Hope, was a formative influence on President Bill Clinton, and this book gives a glimpse of his course on the rise and fall of civilizations, through the Mesopotamian, the Canaanite, the Minoan, the classical and the Western, and he identifies several stages of historical change within each: mixture, gestation, expansion, conflict, the universal empire, decay and invasion.

Publisher: Flatland
Paperback: 444 pages

Eye-Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in World War I

John Ellis

Provides a stark and disturbing account of the infernal madness that was trench warfare on the Western Front in the First World War. Maps, rare photographs and first-hand accounts help document the hideous nightmare world of No-Man’s Land, where literally millions fell to the machine gun, the artillery barrage, the sniper and to disease, while scarcely affecting the outcome of the conflict. Their struggle was in vain ultimately due to the staggering failure of military and civilian leadership on all sides. As we approach the new century bearing horrified witness to the ongoing death rattle of places like Rwanda and Zaire, works like this serve as a chilling reminder of the fact that the Third World has by no means the monopoly on creating Hell on earth. AD

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University
Paperback: 216 pages

The Face of the Enemy

Martin Cager-Smith

This is a collection of photographs taken by British photographers in Germany between 1944-1952 and looks at Germany’s defeat and the aftermath in the country right after World War II. As the British army moved through Germany’s devastated landscape, they documented the defeated army and civilians they encountered. The many photos of lines of German prisoners of war show the reality and misery of defeat and the end of the line of the Hitler myth. There is a segment showing the conditions at the Belsen death camp, with pictures of the survivors and grisly line-up photos of the S.S. camp guards. The conditions after the camp was liberated showing delousing procedures, people scrambling for cigarettes, the boots of the dead being used as fuel for cooking and prisoners being buried are dramatically depicted. Also, photos show the destruction left after the war’s aftermath with many pictures of decimated German cities like Bremen and Berlin and the mass migrations of people just trying to survive in the bombed-out landscapes. MC

Publisher: Dirk Nishen
Paperback: 127 pages

Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School

Carl Japikse

“He that lives upon hope, dies farting.”—Ben Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736
Low- and highbrow humor are two sides of the same magnificent dunghill. Benjamin Franklin is world-famous as the man who helped write the Constitution, founded the U.S. Postal System and created numerous inventions, such as the bifocal lens. It is less well-known that Franklin couldn’t help but occasionally access the bad little schoolboy side of himself. He loved pranks and toilet jokeseven as he was helping to found this country with his political acumen. Foregoing formality and convention for earthy shock effect, Franklin (a known member of England’s notorious Hellfire Club) comes across as a quintessential, fearless American in these hilarious essays. Franklin proposed creating fart pills “to find means of making a Perfume of our wind.” A pellet “no bigger than a pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets.” Move over, BreathAssure. He never came across as being “filthy” or “obscene.” Instead, he liked to tell it as is. This would be one dangerous book to place in the hands of a visionary fifth grader with a book report due. For that matter, this would be the ideal book to place in the hands of a visionary fifth grader with a book report due! CS

Publisher: Enthea
Paperback: 128 pages

Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Avant Garde

Andrew Hewitt

“What was it about fascism that made the movement, in its various forms, so attractive and exciting to such writers and artists as Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Céline, among others? Using as a focal point the literary work of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder of the Italian Futurist movement and an early associate of Mussolini, the author examines the points of contact between a ‘progressive’ aesthetic practice and a ‘reactionary’ political ideology.”

Publisher: Stanford University
Paperback: 222 pages

The Five Negro Presidents

J.A. Rogers

Did you know Warren G. Harding was a Negro? An “expose” of our five black presidents: Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Harding, and one that will not be named here.”

Publisher: Rogers
Paperback: 18 pages