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Although so many central themes in the American saga converge in Richard Potter's life, there has never been a biography of this elusive man. John Hodgson has finally presented his life in a biography, Richard Potter: America's First Black Celebrity, which Kirkus Reviews calls a "definitive life history that gives voice to a pioneering and little-known entertainment legacy." Following is an interview with Hodgson on the fascinating story he has uncovered.

US-North Korean relations have usually been, if not warm, then at least not threatening. But the US has in fact experienced dangerous episodes with North Korea before, one of which—the “Pueblo incident”—took place exactly fifty years ago. On January 23, 1968, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo and its crew of 82. The Presidential Recordings web site, published by our Rotunda electronic imprint in collaboration with the Miller Center, allows users to listen in on the Oval Office as the early stages of this incident played out.

In We Face the Dawn: Oliver Hill, Spottswood Robinson, and the Legal Team that Dismantled Jim Crow, veteran journalist Margaret Edds tells the story of the NAACP attorneys who laid the groundwork for the pivotal Brown vs. Board of Education, and who eventually found themselves in the Supreme Court arguing for equality. We interviewed Edds about her work on this heroic, and hugely productive, legal team.

 

Bruce Berkowitz's Playfair: The True Story of the British Secret Agent Who Changed How We See the World is the first biography of a remarkable person. The Wall Street Journal calls the book "a work of ingenious detection and reconstruction." Referring to Playfair's ability to be in all places at all times, the WSJ review continues, "Mr. Berkowitz compares Playfair to Forrest Gump, but this frenetic optimist, both crafty and unlucky, who although constantly ambushed and battered by events, irrepressibly sprang back from his bad breaks, is more likely a cartoon character. He was the Wile E. Coyote of his age."

Crucible: The President's First Year is the result of an ambitious project by the Miller Center of Public Affairs to examine the first years of past presidents to draw practical lessons from which future administrations might learn. Trump's First Year, which will be published simultaneously with Crucible to mark the first anniversary of President Trump's inauguration, is the only book of its kind—a thorough, concise, and nonpartisan examination of Trump's first year in office.

Without a doubt, the ascent of Trump brings with it a whole new era of bowing and scraping. But this calculated insincerity has always been a part of our society, as Mark and Deborah Parker make abundantly clear in their new book, Sucking Up: A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy.

As Micah LeMon explains in his new book, The Imbible: A Cocktail Guide for Beginning and Home Bartenders, good mixology demands a formula of spirit + sweet + sour/bitter. We have created a series of short videos showing LeMon in action.

 

The long history of UVA receives its most colorful treatment yet in Brendan Wolfe's Mr. Jefferson's Telescope: A History of the University of Virginia in 100 Objects. This fascinating and generously illustrated new book accompanies a new exhibition at UVA's Special Collections Library that brings the actual artifacts together in one remarkable display of history.

Ken Burns' ten-part documentary, The Vietnam War, premiering on PBS September 17, will expose to 21st-century viewers many voices from that distant time. Among those voices will be the two presidents who held office during that turbulent era, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Oval Office conversations, caught on tape, take the listener behind the scenes of this most controversial war. We are now making these conversations open to the public through our The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition web site, published by UVA Press's electronic imprint, ROTUNDA.

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