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This history looks at Savannah’s pre-Civil War prosperous rice empire and the white workers and black slaves who maintained it. After the war ended, the promise of equality proved elusive when Northerners, motivated by varying combinations of morality and enterprise, colluded with Southern whites to keep blacks from attaining full self-determination. 528 pages. Knopf (October)
 
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn—the Last Great Battle of the American West 
By James Donovan 
This history weaves together the multiple threads that led to the 1876 massacre at Little Big Horn, making a good case for Custer as scapegoat by portraying him as a likeable Civil War hero, flamboyant publicity hound, and more experienced Indian fighter than most of his men and all of his commanders. 544 pages. Little, Brown and Company (March)
 
Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
By H.W. Brands
This biography sheds new light on FDR's formative years, his remarkable willingness to champion the concerns of the poor and disenfranchised, his combination of political genius, firm leadership, and matchless diplomacy in saving democracy in America during the Great Depression and the American cause of freedom in 
World War II. 896 pages. Doubleday (November)
 
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief 
By James M. McPherson
Abraham Lincoln, who arrived at the White House with no military experience, quickly established himself as the greatest commander in chief in American history, effectively inventing the process by which a president declares war and dictates strategy. 384 pages. Penguin Press (October)
 
The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006–2008 
By Bob Woodward
As violence in Iraq reached unnerving levels in 2006, a second front raged at the highest levels of the Bush administration. The fourth in a series on President George W. Bush, this history takes readers inside the secret debates and titanic personal struggles for power within the White House, Pentagon, State Department, intelligence agencies, and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq. 512 pages. Simon & Schuster (September)
 
Washington Burning: How a Frenchman’s Vision for Our 
Nation’s Capital Survived 
Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army 
By Les Standiford 
The story of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the eccentric, passionate, and difficult architect, who fell in love with his adopted country, and did so much to shape the nation’s capital. 368 pages. Crown (May)
 
The West the Railroads Made 
By Carlos A. Schwantes and James P. Ronda 
This illustrated history documents how the railroads radically transformed the Great Plains and large parts of the Pacific Northwest, “like a magician’s rod in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. 229 pages. University of Washington Press (April )