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The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century

When America declared war on Spain in 1898, the US Army had just 26,000 men, spread around the country—hardly an army at all. In desperation, the Rough Riders were born. A unique group of volunteers, ranging from Ivy League athletes to Arizona cowboys and led by Theodore Roosevelt, they helped secure victory in Cuba in a series of gripping, bloody fights across the island. Roosevelt called their charge in the Battle of San Juan Hill his “crowded hour”—a turning point in his life, one that led directly to the White House. “The instant I received the order,” wrote Roosevelt, “I sprang on my horse and then my ‘crowded hour’ began.” As The Crowded Hour reveals, it was a turning point for America as well, uniting the country and ushering in a new era of global power.

Both a portrait of these men, few of whom were traditional soldiers, and of the Spanish-American War itself, The Crowded Hour dives deep into the daily lives and struggles of Roosevelt and his regiment. Using diaries, letters, and memoirs, Risen illuminates a disproportionately influential moment in American history: a war of only six months’ time that dramatically altered the United States’ standing in the world. In this brilliant, enlightening narrative, the Rough Riders—and a country on the brink of a new global dominance—are brought fully and gloriously to life.

Critical Acclaim

Risen … is a gifted storyteller who brings context to the chaos of war. “The Crowded Hour” feels like the best type of war reporting — told with a clarity that takes nothing away from the horrors of the battlefield.”Candice Millard, The New York Times

“A lively exploration of how ‘intervene first, ask questions later’ became America's foreign policy…Drawing on letters, archival sources, and abundant newspaper articles—many from on-site journalists including Richard Harding Davis, Stephen Crane, and Frank Norris—Risen, deputy op-ed editor at the New York Times, offers a penetrating history of the ‘half-baked, poorly executed, unnecessary conflict from which the U.S., nevertheless, emerged victorious… A revelatory history of America's grasp for power.”Kirkus Reviews, starred

"Clay Risen has given us an illuminating and elegant account of how Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders in many ways founded what would become, in Henry Luce's phrase, the American Century. Restless and brave, flawed and noble, TR and his compatriots embodied an emerging global nationfor better and for worse. It was indeed a crowded hour, not only for Roosevelt but for America."
—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America

“Scrupulously researched and dramatically narrated, The Crowded Hour showcases Theodore Roosevelt in all of his Rough Rider glory. Clay Risen, a marvelous historian, brings the Spanish American War and the Gilded Age back to life in these vibrant pages. All of TR’s undaunted hubris, bedrock patriotism, derring-do, and political genius are captured in this fast-paced war epic.”
—Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

“Here, in cinematic fashion, Clay Risen captures the nearly inexhaustible energy and irrepressible charisma of Teddy Roosevelt at the moment of his meteoric rise into the national consciousness. Through careful sifting and resourceful reporting that runs both broad and deep, The Crowded Hour brings fresh insight and a modern sensibility to this classic episode of American history.”
—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and On Desperate Ground

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN-13: 978-1501143991

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Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland

Critical Acclaim

“Risen’s entries go deep, enabling readers to find the bottle that’s right for them or a friend...[r]egardless of where the whiskeys fall on the single malt spectrum, Risen and his tasting panel have created a definitive reference on the topic. This is a must-have guide for novices and aficionados alike.” —Publisher’s Weekly
(starred review)

Over the past five centuries, Scots have used malted barley, stills, and clear cold water to create a sublimely complex drink. More than 110 distilleries are active today in Scotland, bottling hundreds of single malt expressions for export all over the world. Now, from the author of the spirits bestseller American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye, comes a new essential guide. Organized by distillery, each section features a profile of the maker and individual accounts of each core bottling, including information on age, proof, nose, body, palate, and price, plus an overall rating. The introduction provides a short history of the Scottish spirit, how it’s made, and how to enjoy it. Featuring more than 330 single malts, Risen has created the ideal companion for anyone who loves whisky and would like to know more. Slàinte!

Hardcover: 328 pages

Publisher: A Scott & Nix/Quercus Edition

Size: 5 x 9 inches

ISBN: 978-1-681441-07-8

Price: $29.99

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American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit

Critical Acclaim

“A comprehensive and opinionated guide for the intermediate tippler…It’s a detailed, admirably cranky directory. Risen’s tasting notes for each are erudite
and fun.”—Wall Street Journal

“Risen is something of a Renaissance man…a Leonardo da Vinci of whiskey. American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye…should have a proud place on the bookshelf (or by the bar) of anyone who is an enthusiast of bourbon and other American whiskeys. Very useful for shopping purposes…Bring this book with you.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Risen delicately walks readers into whiskey’s past, present, and future.…His words are meant for whiskey lovers, as he dissects every brand’s story and scores products on an NR (not recommended) to four-star scale. An American whiskey treasure worthy of four stars.”—Whisky Advocate

“A whiskey novice’s best friend...It’s a book I plan on keeping around for constant reference.”—Saveur

The bible of American whiskey has been updated. Organized in an A-to-Z directory by distillery or brand, this second edition features 338 whiskeys, including more than 145 new entries. Each section includes a brief history of the maker, along with its location, followed by a full account of each bottling, including details on age, proof, nose, color, body, palate, price, as well as an overall rating. A comprehensive primer provides a short history of the spirit, how it’s made, and how to enjoy it, including tips on organizing tasting sessions. Also included are a glossary of terms, a selection of top whiskeys by ratings and value, a handy checklist, and index. With this book, choosing from among the many whiskeys, bourbons, and ryes made in America has never been easier.

Hardcover: 392 pages

Publisher: A Scott & Nix Edition/Sterling Epicure

Size: 5 x 9"

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1688-8

Price: $24.95

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The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history. This one law so dramatically altered American society that, looking back, it seems preordained-as Everett Dirksen, the GOP leader in the Senate and a key supporter of the bill, said, “no force is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” But there was nothing predestined about the victory: a phalanx of powerful senators, pledging to “fight to the death” for segregation, launched the longest filibuster in American history to defeat it.

The bill's passage has often been credited to the political leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, or the moral force of Martin Luther King. Yet as Clay Risen shows, the battle for the Civil Rights Act was a story much bigger than those two men. It was a broad, epic struggle, a sweeping tale of unceasing grassroots activism, ringing speeches, backroom deal-making and finally, hand-to-hand legislative combat. The larger-than-life cast of characters ranges from Senate lions like Mike Mansfield and Strom Thurmond to NAACP lobbyist Charles Mitchell, called “the 101st senator” for his Capitol Hill clout, and industrialist J. Irwin Miller, who helped mobilize a powerful religious coalition for the bill. The "idea whose time had come" would never have arrived without pressure from the streets and shrewd leadership in Congress--all captured in Risen's vivid narrative.

This critical turning point in American history has never been thoroughly explored in a full-length account. Now, New York Times editor and acclaimed author Clay Risen delivers the full story, in all its complexity and drama.

Hardcover: 320 pages / Paperback 308 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Press (2014 hc/2015 pb)

HC ISBN-13: 978-1608198245

PB ISBN-13: 9781608198245

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A Nation On Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination

A few hours after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at a Memphis motel, violent mobs had looted and burned several blocks of Washington a few miles north of the White House, centered around the U Street commercial district. Quick action by D.C. police quelled the violence, but shortly before noon the next day, looting and arson broke out anew—not just along U Street, but in two other commercial districts as well.

Over the next several days, the immediate crisis of the riots was matched by an equally ominous sense among the nation's political leadership that they were watching the final dissolution of the 1960s liberal dream. For many whites who watched flames overtake city after city—Washington, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City—the April riots were an unfathomable and deeply troubling response during what should have been a time of national mourning. To them the rioters were little better than common criminals. But a look at the average rioter complicates such conclusions: they were primarily young (under 25) and male, but most made a decent salary, had a better than average education, and had no previous arrest record. In interviews and testimonies afterward, rioters recalled a sense of release, of striking back at the "system."

To say that the riots meant different things to different people would be exceedingly trite if it weren't also exceedingly true. In ways large and small, the King riots solidified attitudes and trends that destroyed the momentum behind racial progress, fatally wounded postwar domestic liberalism, created new divisions among blacks and whites, and condemned urban America to decades of poverty and crime. This book will explain why they occurred, how they played out, and what they meant.

Hardcover: 312 pages

Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 9, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0470177101

ISBN-13: 978-0470177105

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