Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson

Behind all of those canvases, the contemporary art world is backed by a collection of larger than life personalities. Art dealers. These are the movers and shakers of an artistic and financial movement that has been functioning since the 1940s. From the beginning galleries and their unsure futures to the continual modern multi-million dollar sales, this is the story of the wild group that has shaped world of contemporary art.

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Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen

The vice president is a unique political position in that the person inhabiting it remains largely forgotten until they’re needed. Yet, eight times an American president has died in office, and eight times the vice president has assumed that office. With such a high frequency of occurrence, it could be assumed that the Framers of the Constitution understood the necessity of keeping the country going after the death of a president. And yet the vast majority of these successions have led to, at best, tumultuous administrations.

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Pride by Fred W. McDarrah

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. This was not an uncommon occurrence, as most bars catering to the LGBTQ+ community were raided regularly during the 1960s. However, this night was remarkable for the reaction— bar patrons, fed up with constant harassment, fought back. What immediately followed was six days of protests and continued confrontations with police. Now, it’s marked as the beginning of an organized effort for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.

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The League of Wives by Heath Hardage Lee

At the beginning of the Vietnam War hundreds of American soldiers were considered either missing or captured, and President Johnson’s administration approached their families with a simple message: keep quiet. With little information sharing, most families did just that. But then footage started appearing from North Vietnam confirming the worst. In one video, Admiral Jeremiah Denton discusses how great he’s been treated, but his eyes tell another story— literally, he blinks out a message in Morse Code: TORTURE.

And that’s when most wives of service members could no longer remain quiet.

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Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

For ten years Ruth Reichl helmed Gourmet magazine, turning the tired and worn publication back into the cultural achievement it once was. However, she initially balked at the idea of taking control. In 1999 she was the food critic for The New York Times— a writer first and last, she certainly had no interest in managing a staff of sixty. But Gourmet was a magazine that sparked her culinary career when she discovered it at eight years old … How could she resist? The next ten years became a whirlwind of learning how to head a magazine, navigating publishing egos, and, above all else, dishing out great food.

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Conspiracies of Conspiracies by Thomas Milan Konda

Open any social media platform and you can slam into a conspiracy theory in a matter of clicks. These often asinine views have been stretched and further distorted in an attempt at legitimization— forum posts become memes become tweets become … well, information sharing goes on and on. However, though digital distribution is relatively new, there’s absolutely nothing new about the theories themselves, as Professor Thomas Milan Konda thoroughly explores.

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Buying Gay by David K. Johnson

During the 1950s and 60s, magazines focusing on the male form exploded across the United States, and yet their academic value has mostly been ignored. These magazines, created largely by and for gay men created a “gay market” which ultimately crafted the bones for the broader gay movement. Fortunately and finally, historian David K. Johnson has thrown back the curtain on this period which he has dubbed the Physique Era of gay American history.

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