True Story

[8/12] New Releases: Robber Barons and National Parks

We haven’t checked in on STATS in a while. How’re your 2020 reading stats? If you’ve abandoned them in the abyss otherwise known as 2020 Plans, that makes complete sense. I’ve got some new reads for you! Just in case you’re lookin’.

Iron Empires: Robber Barons, Railroads, and the Making of Modern America by Michael Hiltzik. I don’t know how into nineteenth-century America you are, but if you know anything about it, you know that the railroads were The Thing. Crossin’ the country! Ruining nations of people! And then the robber barons, i.e. Vanderbilt, Morgan, and all those guys, hoarding all the wealth, like smug dragons. Hiltzik talks here about the impact of the railroad and how bananas everything went when/while it was built.

Good for You: Bold Flavors With Benefits by Akhtar Nawab. Ok, these are “100 recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets.” Wow. Impressive. I have a hard time just trying to incorporate more protein into my diet, and Nawab is like, here’s how to cut it down to the essentials. Each recipe doesn’t cover ALL those bases though, because it includes things like Fish Tacos with Pistachio Mole, Gazpacho with Poached Shrimp, AND Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with Sea Salt. A+.

Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness by David Gessner. Do you miss going outside? Why not read about it (she said, sadly)? Here, Gessner “embarks on a great American road trip guided by Roosevelt’s crusading environmental legacy.” Roosevelt, complicated figure that he was, laid the foundation for many of our national parks and was the first president to create a Federal Bird Reserve. On the trip, Gessner “questions and reimagines Roosevelt’s vision for today.” Which is GREAT, because, as previously stated: complicated.


CasteCaste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. Ok, this isn’t really “backlist,” but it came out last week and I MISSED IT. In Wilkerson’s next book after The Warmth of Other Suns, she looks at “how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.” By looking at America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson walks you through eight pillars that support caste systems around the world.


Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights by Mikki Kendall and A. D’Amico. This graphic history takes a more zoomed-out approach to the history of women’s rights. Kendall starts in antiquity, moves to slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, and then suffrage, civil rights, and women’s rights from the ’60s to today. It’s easy for women’s rights to be centered around the ballot when there is so much more to it.


That’s it for this week. As always, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime and co-hosting the nonfiction For Real podcast with Kim here at Book Riot. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.