Bestselling Books in January 2014

The bestselling African American books by or about African Americans, published in January 2014, from Amazon.com.

  1. The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton
    ( Bloomsbury Press , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    By 1870, just five years after Confederate surrender and thirteen years after the Dred Scott decision ruled blacks ineligible for citizenship, Congressional action had ended slavery and given the vote to black men. That same year, Hiram Revels and Joseph Hayne Rainey became the first African-American U.S. senator and congressman respectively. In South Carolina, only twenty years after the death of arch-secessionist John C. Calhoun, a black man, Jasper J. Wright, took a seat on the state’s Supreme Court. Not even the most optimistic abolitionists had thought such milestones would occur in their lifetimes. The brief years of Reconstruction marked the United States’ most progressive moment prior to the civil rights movement. Previous histories of Reconstruction have focused on Washington politics. But in this sweeping, prodigiously researched narrative, Douglas Egerton brings a much bigger, even more dramatic story into view, exploring state and local politics and tracing the struggles of some fifteen hundred African-American officeholders, in both the North and South, who fought entrenched white resistance. Tragically, their movement was met by ruthless violence—not just riotous mobs, but also targeted assassination. With stark evidence, Egerton shows that Reconstruction, often cast as a “failure” or a doomed experiment, was rolled back by murderous force. The Wars of Reconstruction is a major and provocative contribution to American history.

     

  2. Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-first Century by Monique W. Morris
    ( New Press, The , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    A comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans—is an essential reference for anyone attempting to fathom the complex state of our nation. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions. A compilation that at once highlights measures of incredible progress and enumerates the disparate impacts of social policies and practices, this book is a critical tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers. Black Stats offers indispensable information that is sure to enlighten discussions and provoke debates about the quality of Black life in the United States today—and help chart the path to a better future.There are less than a quarter-million Black public school teachers in the U.S.—representing just 7 percent of all teachers in public schools.Approximately half of the Black population in the United States lives in neighborhoods that have no White residents.In the five years before the Great Recession, the number of Black-owned businesses in the United States increased by 61 percent.A 2010 study found that 41 percent of Black youth feel that rap music videos should be more political.There are no Black owners or presidents of an NFL franchise team.78 percent of Black Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, compared with 56 percent of White Americans.

     

  3. Still The Baddest Bitch (Bitch Series) by Joy Deja King
    ( A King Production , 1/29/2014 , Paperback )
    Aaliyah Mills Carter has to step up and watch the throne, to prove she has what it takes to be the Baddest Bitch. Chaos has always surrounded her family but now death may have hit too close to home. There are so many questions but not enough answers. Aaliyah is determined to find out if she’s been sleeping with the enemy and has Precious Cummings finally ran out of lives? Find out in Still The Baddest Bitch.

     

  4. How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
    ( Dial , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets.   Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.   A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure.

     

  5. Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life by Dr. Joe Brewster
    ( Spiegel & Grau , 1/14/2014 , Paperback )
    Regardless of how wealthy or poor their parents are, all black boys must confront and surmount the “achievement gap”: a divide that shows up not only in our sons’ test scores, but in their social and emotional development, their physical well-being, and their outlook on life. As children, they score as high on cognitive tests as their peers, but at some point, the gap emerges. Why?   This is the question Joe Brewster, M.D., and Michèle Stephenson asked when their own son, Idris, began struggling in a new school. As they filmed his experiences for their award-winning documentary American Promise, they met an array of researchers who had not only identified the reasons for the gap, but had come up with practical, innovative solutions to close it. In Promises Kept, they explain   • how to influence your son’s brain before he’s even born • how to tell the difference between authoritarian and authoritative discipline—and why it matters • how to create an educational program for your son that matches his needs • how to prepare him for explicit and implicit racism in school and in the wider world • how to help your child develop resilience, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and a positive outlook that will last a lifetime

     

  6. The Logic of American Politics, 6th Edition by Samuel Kernell
    ( CQ Press , 1/10/2014 , Paperback )
    After observing the strains of intense partisanship and divided government, many Americans are wondering what logic, if any, can be found in politics. The new Sixth Edition of The Logic of American Politics reaffirms this best-seller’s place as the most accessible smart book on the market. Consistently praised for its engaging narrative, the book hooks students with great storytelling while arming them with a toolkit of institutional design concepts-command, veto, agenda control, voting rules, delegation.

     

  7. His Day Is Done: A Nelson Mandela Tribute by Maya Angelou
    ( Random House , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    He was a son of Africa who became father to a nation and, for billions of people around the world, a beacon of hope, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition. Now, acclaimed poet Maya Angelou honors the life and remarkable soul of Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Nobel laureate.   In His Day is Done, Angelou delivers an authentically heartfelt and elegant tribute to Mandela, who stood as David to the mighty Goliath of Apartheid and who, after twenty-seven years of unjust imprisonment on the notorious Robben Island, emerged with “His stupendous heart intact / His gargantuan will / Hale and hearty” to lead his people into a new era.   This poignant work of gratitude and remembrance offers condolences to the resilient people of South Africa on the loss of their beloved “Madiba” and celebrates a man like no other, whose life and work changed the world.

     

  8. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
    ( Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.   Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.   As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.  

     

  9. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell
    ( Chronicle Books , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Meticulously researched by both author and artist, Josephine’s powerful story of struggle and triumph is an inspiration and a spectacle, just like the legend herself.

     

  10. Without Mercy: The Stunning True Story of Race, Crime, and Corruption in the Deep South by David Beasley
    ( St. Martin’s Press , 1/28/2014 , Hardcover )
    On December 9, 1938, the state of Georgia executed six black men in eighty-one  minutes in  Tattnall Prison’s electric chair. The executions were a record for the state that still stands today. The new prison, built with funds from FDR’s New Deal, as well as the fact that the men were tried and executed rather than lynched were thought to be a sign of progress. They were anything but. While those men were arrested, convicted, sentenced, and executed in as little as six weeks—E. D. Rivers, the governor of the state, oversaw a pardon racket for white killers and criminals, allowed the Ku Klux Klan to infiltrate his administration, and bankrupted the state. Race and wealth were all that determined whether or not a man lived or died. There was no progress. There was no justice.
    David Beasley’s Without Mercy is the harrowing true story of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the violent death throes of the Klan, but most of all it is the story of the stunning injustice of these executions and how they have seared distrust of the legal system into the consciousness of the Deep South, and it is a story that will forever be a testament to the death penalty’s appalling inequality that continues to plague our nation

     

  11. Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden
    ( Harry N. Abrams , 1/7/2014 , Hardcover )
      Sarah Rector was once famously hailed as “the richest black girl in America.” Set against the backdrop of American history, her tale encompasses the creation of Indian Territory, the making of Oklahoma, and the establishment of black towns and oil-rich boomtowns. Rector acquired her fortune at the age of eleven. This is both her story and that of children just like her: one filled with ups and downs amid bizarre goings-on and crimes perpetrated by greedy and corrupt adults. From a trove of primary documents, including court and census records and interviews with family members, author Tonya Bolden painstakingly pieces together the events of Sarah’s life and the lives of those around her.

     

  12. Dirty Divorce part 4 by Miss KP
    ( Life Changing Books , 1/20/2014 , Paperback )
    The Dirty Divorce Trilogy has been a wild ride and readers just can t get enough of the Sanchez family drama. In Dirty Divorce Part 4 the offsprings of Rich Sanchez, Juan and Denie don t disappoint. Juan is determined to become his own man speeding through the fast lane of money, cars, and women. As he dominates the industry his father once ruled, he soon learns that being top dog carries a heavy price tag. While Juan constantly lives trying to dodge his demise, Denie stares death straight in the face as she keeps secrets buried to stay the baddest chick in the DMV. Denie is willing to put others at risk in order to live the life she s become accustomed to. While Juan and Denie grow up repeating the vicious cycle Rich created, someone familiar watches in the shadows for revenge to ruin the Sanchez empire. Relationships are tested, lives are lost, and loyalty goes out the window as the Sanchez family battles to stay on top of the game that ruined them from the start.

     

  13. Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Walter Mosley
    ( Vintage , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    In Little Green, Walter Mosley’s acclaimed detective Easy Rawlins returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of that haven for Los Angeles hippies, the Sunset Strip. He’s soon back in top form, cruising the gloriously psychedelic mean streets of L.A. with his murderous sidekick, Mouse. They’ve been hired to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem.

     

  14. Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms by Nicholas Johnson
    ( Prometheus Books , 1/14/2014 , Paperback )
    Chronicling the under-appreciated black tradition of bearing arms for self-defense, this book presents an array of examples reaching back to the pre—Civil War era that demonstrate a willingness of African American men and women to use firearms when necessary to defend their families and communities. From Frederick Douglass’s advice to keep “a good revolver” handy as defense against slave catchers to the armed self-protection of Monroe, North Carolina, blacks against the KKK chronicled in Robert Williams’s Negroes with Guns, it is clear that owning firearms was commonplace in the black community.     Nicholas Johnson points out that this story has been submerged because it is hard to reconcile with the dominant narrative of nonviolence during the civil rights era. His book, however, resolves that tension by showing how the black tradition of arms maintained and demanded a critical distinction between private self-defense and political violence.      Johnson also addresses the unavoidable issue of young black men with guns and the toll that gun violence takes on many in the inner city. He shows how complicated this issue is by highlighting the surprising diversity of views on gun ownership in the black community. In fact, recent Supreme Court affirmations of the right to bear arms resulted from cases led by black plaintiffs.     Surprising and informative, this well-researched book strips away many stock assumptions of conventional wisdom on the issue of guns and the black freedom struggle.

     

  15. Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
    ( Soho Press , 1/14/2014 , Hardcover )
    Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery. Ike’s plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes. And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity. A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the exotic, including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.

     

  16. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd
    ( St. Martin’s Griffin , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )
    Two world wars, the Civil Rights movement, and a Jheri curl later, Blacks in America continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From the antebellum practice of shaving the head in an attempt to pass as a free person to the 1998 uproar over a White third-grade teacher’s reading of the book Nappy Hair, the issues surrounding Black hair continue to linger as we enter the twenty-first century.Hair Story is a historical and anecdotal exploration of Black Americans’ tangled hair roots. A chronological look at the culture and politics behind the ever-changing state of Black hair from fifteenth-century Africa to the present-day United States, it ties the personal to the political and the popular.
    Read about:
    * Why Black American slaves used items like axle grease and eel skin to straighten their hair.
    * How a Mexican chemist straightened Black hair using his formula for turning sheep’s wool into a minklike fur.
    * How the Afro evolved from militant style to mainstream fashion trend.
    * What prompted the creation of the Jheri curl and the popular style’s fall from grace.
    * The story behind Bo Derek’s controversial cornrows and the range of reactions they garnered.
    Major figures in the history of Black hair are presented, from early hair-care entrepreneurs Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C. J. Walker to unintended hair heroes like Angela Davis and Bob Marley. Celebrities, stylists, and cultural critics weigh in on the burgeoning sociopolitical issues surrounding Black hair, from the historically loaded terms good and bad hair, to Black hair in the workplace, to mainstream society’s misrepresentation and misunderstanding of kinky locks. Hair Story is the book that Black Americans can use as a benchmark for tracing a unique aspect of their history, and it’s a book that people of all races will celebrate as the reference guide for understanding Black hair.

     

  17. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
    ( Atheneum Books for Young Readers , 1/7/2014 , Hardcover )
    Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice.Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance. Together with acclaimed illustrator AG Ford, Ilyasah Shabazz gives us a unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X, with a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today—that we must all strive to live to our highest potential.

     

  18. Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons by Sylviane A. Diouf
    ( NYU Press , 1/17/2014 , Hardcover )
    Over more than two centuries men, women, and children escaped from slavery to make the Southern wilderness their home. They hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina; they stayed in the neighborhood or paddled their way to secluded places; they buried themselves underground or built comfortable settlements. Known as maroons, they lived on their own or set up communities in swamps or other areas where they were not likely to be discovered. Although well-known, feared, celebrated or demonized at the time, the maroons whose stories are the subject of this book have been forgotten, overlooked by academic research that has focused on the Caribbean and Latin America. Who the American maroons were, what led them to choose this way of life over alternatives, what forms of marronage they created, what their individual and collective lives were like, how they organized themselves to survive, and how their particular story fits into the larger narrative of slave resistance are questions that this book seeks to answer. To survive, the American maroons reinvented themselves, defied slave society, enforced their own definition of freedom and dared create their own alternative to what the country had delineated as being black men and women’s proper place. Audacious, self-confident, autonomous, sometimes self-sufficient, always self-governing; their very existence was a repudiation of the basic tenets of slavery. Sylviane A. Diouf is an award-winning historian specializing in the history of the African Diaspora, African Muslims, the slave trade and slavery. She is the author of Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (NYU Press, 2013) and Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America, and the editor of Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies.

     

  19. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
    ( Roaring Brook Press , 1/21/2014 , Hardcover )
    An astonishing civil rights story from Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin. On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away. On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution. This is a fascinating story of the prejudice that faced black men and women in America’s armed forces during World War II, and a nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

     

  20. Baby Momma 3 (Urban Books) by Ni’chelle Genovese
    ( Urban Books , 1/28/2014 , Paperback )

     

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