Inside the Fall and Winter 2024 Catalog

This Fall and Winter we’re thrilled to bring you a knockout biography of Malcolm X, Malcolm Before X by Patrick Parr. In this first biography of Malcolm X dedicated to his early life and years in Massachusetts prisons, Parr traces Malcolm’s African lineage, explores his complicated childhood in the Midwest, and follows him as he moves east to live with his sister Ella in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, where he is convicted of burglary and sentenced.

Parr utilizes a trove of previously overlooked documents that include prison files and prison newspapers to immerse the reader into the unique cultures—at times brutal and at times instructional—of Charlestown State Prison, the Concord Reformatory, and the Norfolk Prison Colony. It was at these institutions that Malcolm devoured books, composed poetry, boxed, debated, and joined the Nation of Islam, changing the course of his life and setting the stage for a decade of antiracist activism that would fundamentally reshape American culture.

We also highlight a stunning memoir about growing up working class on the Outer Cape in The Innermost House by Cynthia Blakeley. Raised in a nineteenth-century saltbox house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Cynthia Blakeley was both surrounded by generations of immediate and extended family and isolated by the mysteries locked inside her affectionate yet elusive mother and short-fused father. While she and her sisters and cousins roamed the Outer Cape—drinking in the dunes, swimming in kettle ponds, and dancing in Provincetown—Blakeley also turned to the inner world of her journals as she contended with her own secrets and memories. Blakeley’s captivating memoir moves fluidly through time, grappling with the question of who owns a memory or secret and how our narrative choices not only describe but also shape and change us. 

Our Science, Ourselves is an exploration of trailblazing women scientists in the Boston area. Author Christa Kuljian tells the origin story of feminist science studies by focusing on the life histories of six key figures—Ruth Hubbard, Rita Arditti, Evelyn Fox Keller, Evelynn Hammonds, Anne Fausto-Sterling, and Banu Subramaniam. Inspired by the social and political activism of the women’s movement and organizations such as Science for the People, the Genes and Gender Collective, and the Combahee River Collective, they began to write and teach about women in science, gender and science, and sexist and racist bias and exclusion. They would lead the critiques of E. O. Wilson’s sociobiology in 1975 and Larry Summers’ comments about women in science thirty years later. Our Science, Ourselves also explores how these contributions differed from those of Nancy Hopkins’, author of the 1999 MIT report on women in science, and a “reluctant feminist.”

More than Blue, More than Yankee is an examination of shifting political dynamics in New England. This collection of new essays captures both the political history and contemporary moment in this region and exposes the surprisingly varied political landscape. It examines historical shifts, regional developments, and the politics of its states to argue that New England has been and continues to be an important part of the national political puzzle, from demonstrating democratic principles in early America to producing major contemporary figures such as Elizabeth Warren, Ayanna Pressley, and Susan Collins. The political shifts at work in New England mirror the South’s transformation, but have received much less attention. This volume corrects that omission by profiling political movements and candidates, political rhetoric from activists to pundits, and demographics and voting in each state as well as the region as a whole.

Inventing the Boston Game takes a look into the myth of the invention of American Football in Boston. Kevin Tallec Marston and Mike Cronin investigate the history of the Oneida Football Club and reveal what really happened. In a compelling, well told narrative that is informed by sports history, Boston history, and the study of memory, they posit that these men engaged in self-memorialization to reinforce their elite cultural status during a period of tremendous social and economic change, and particularly increased immigration. This exploration of the Club’s history provides fascinating insight into how and why origin stories are created in the first place.

This season’s catalog features much more, including a look at the discourse of the controversy surrounding the fracking ban in New York in Unfracked, the first biography of Captain Paul Cuffe, Yeoman, one of the first titles in our new Black New England series. We also have a look at the Good Housekeeping books column in Tasting and Testing Books and an investigation into journalism standards in the Jim Crow era in Racializing Objectivity.

Click here to read the full catalog and discover more great titles.