Enjoy a selection of history books written by contributors to Alta Journal, including Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, Alta contributing editor William Deverell, and Julia Flynn Siler. The works are pulled from a special guide of 83 titles that appears in our Fall 2021 issue.
Cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell probes her fascination with true crime in her graphic memoir, outlining some of the more riveting investigations she has followed. Murder Book is a multigenre work in which biography intersects with cultural criticism, and it attempts to answer one question: What is it about crime that enthralls the mind? Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2021, 336 pages, $19.99 paperback
Historian and USC professor William Deverell recounts the distressing tale of Kathy Fiscus, a young girl who got trapped in a well in 1949. For two days, her fate remained unknown—and the event broke national news cycles and became the most talked-about and listened-to story in the country, with people tuning in to hear updates via radio, newsreel footage, and live television. Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy That Transfixed the Nation considers how the girl’s story prefigured the emergence of reality television. Angel City Press, March 2021, 168 pages, $30 hardcover
A professor at UC Santa Barbara, Mario T. García is the author or editor of over 20 books. His latest, Rewriting the Chicano Movement, considers the Chicano movement, widely regarded as the largest organizing effort for civil rights by Mexican Americans in the United States. Contributing writers include Holly Barnet-Sanchez, Tim Drescher, Jesús Jesse Esparza, Patrick Fontes, and coeditor Ellen McCracken. University of Arizona Press, March 2021, 288 pages, $35 paperback
Published 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Bridget Quinn’s book features dozens of women who fought for universal women’s suffrage and broke glass ceilings, in Washington, D.C., and beyond. It celebrates the grand events of U.S. feminism, from the Seneca Falls Convention to the 2016 Women’s March, as well as the smaller moments, like the first time a woman wore pants on the Senate floor. She Votes includes portraits of feminists and suffragettes created by 100 female artists. Chronicle Books, August 2020, 232 pages, $35 hardcover
Mark Haskell Smith investigates, recounts, and celebrates the life of an ancient unnamed writer in Rude Talk in Athens by interweaving history, politics, and general anecdotes in this narrative about the origins of mischievous comedy. He discusses raucous festivals from the fifth century BCE and Athenian senses of humor, connecting what he’s learned via extensive travels through Greece to our modern-day comedic sensibilities, especially concerning our current political realities. Unnamed Press, August 2021, 208 pages, $26 hardcover
David Talbot and his sister, Margaret Talbot, trace a contentious period of U.S. history in this record of the 1960s and 1970s. Featuring interviews and archival research, By the Light of Burning Dreams highlights figures at the forefronts of the era’s radical social movements, from Bobby Seale and the Black Panther Party to Jane Fonda and the antiwar effort to Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Harper, June 2021, 400 pages, $28.99 hardcover