The daily suggested reads are presented Monday through Friday three weeks of the month and then Monday – Thursday and Saturday the one week of the month that I work Saturday and not Friday – which is this week!
So our suggested daily recommended reads in both print and electronic (e-book) formats for Saturday are:
Digital Catalog – E-Book:
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg:
Now a New York Times bestseller.
“This estimable book rides into the summer doldrums like rural electrification. . . . It deals in the truths that matter.”-–Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“White Trash will change the way we think about our past and present.”
—T. J. Stiles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Custer’s Trials
In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, what the New York Times hails as “formidable and truth-dealing,” Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing––if occasionally entertaining––poor white trash.
“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters boosting Trump have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.
The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
This title was featured on NPR – here’s a link to the podcast:
Here’s a link to the description page in the Digital Catalog:
Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story by John Bloom: In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American technology company developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Light years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars,” Iridium’s constellation of 66 satellites in polar orbit meant that no matter where you were on Earth, at least one satellite was always overhead, and you could call Tibet from Fiji without a delay and without your call ever touching a wire.
Iridium the satellite system was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.”
That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business.
In Eccentric Orbits, John Bloom masterfully traces the conception, development, and launching of Iridium and Colussy’s tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, to the Pentagon, to the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue—anyone who would need a durable phone at the end of the Earth. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.
You can request the book by clicking on the following link to StarCat:
Or by calling the library at: 607-936-3713 x 502.
Have a great weekend and stay cool!
Beginning Digital Note: You can access digital library content on PCs, Macs and mobile devices. For mobile devices simply download the OverDrive app from your app store to get started. If you have questions call the library at: 607-936-3713 and one of our Digital Literacy Specialists will be happy to assist you.