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Editors’ Bookshelf

June 2024
1min read

A The browser who leafs through The Statue of Liberty Encyclopedia , by Barry Moreno (Simon & Schuster, $30.00), will find entries not only on the statue’s nose (three feet eight inches long) and replications (a 44-foot polyester model made for a 1968 film can be found today in Barentin, France), but also on Benjamin Jaurès (“a delegate representing the French Senate at the inauguration of the Statue”), Simon Cameron (author of the 1877 congressional resolution accepting the statue), and France’s Third Republic.

B For the first time, The Complete Jacob Lawrence (edited and with an introduction by Peter T. Nesbett and Michelle DuBois, University of Washington Press, $125.00) catalogues the Harlem-bred artist’s entire lifetime output of more than 900 paintings, drawings, and murals depicting scenes of African-American life from the 1930s through the 1990s. More than half of them were discovered by this project.

C From the title alone, you can close your eyes and envision every picture and word of text in Roadside America: The Automobile and the American Dream , by Lucinda Lewis (Harry N. Abrams, $49.50). But who cares? Like the Chrysler Imperial pictured above, everything in the book is as authentic yet unreal, and as stickily irresistible, as a pound and a half of Gummi Bears.

D Anyone casting about for a seasonal gift would do well to remember what is by far the richest anthology published this year, the massive and handsome One Hundred and Fifty Years of Harper’s Magazine (edited by Lewis H. Lapham and Ellen Rosenbush, Franklin Square Press, $50.00), which enjoys a roster of contributors of almost surreal distinction: Herman Melville on Sherman’s march; Clarence Darrow on crime; Theodore Roosevelt on a disastrous 1791 campaign against the Indians; fiction by Joseph Conrad, Eudora Welty, and John Cheever; Norman Mailer on the 1968 conventions; and Leon Trotsky’s 1933 article “What Hitler Wants” (to exercise “the right of the ‘superior’ races to trample upon and to extirpate the ‘inferior’ races. …”).

E There are no burnt edges, like on those old Declarations of Independence, but The Civil War Collection (text by Bob Zeller, Chronicle Books, $24.95) includes replicas of stereoscopic photographs (with a viewer); Maj. Robert Anderson’s telegram announcing the surrender of Fort t Sumter; an insurance policy on a slave; Confederate currency; an 1864 Virginia newspaper; Robert E. Lee’s amnesty oath; and much more.

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