Deals, News, Reviews & Writer’s Resources


The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe.

Kertzer, David I. (author).
Feb. 2014. 576p. Random, hardcover, $32 (9780812993462); Random, e-book (9780679645535). 322.
First published December 15, 2013 (Booklist).

Two leaders came to power in 1922 in Rome, Achille Ratti was elevated to the papacy as Pius XI, and Benito Mussolini was appointed Italian prime minister. How relations between them developed until the pope’s 1939 demise occupies this original history, which rests on Kertzer’s thorough research of available Vatican archives and other sources. ... An important work of history, Kertzer’s adroit profiles of Pius and Mussolini will broaden its audience."

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Prison Memoir of a Black Man in the 1850s
Published: December 11, 2013, New York Times

"Years ago, a rare-books dealer browsing at an estate sale in Rochester came across an unusual manuscript, dated 1858. The family selling it said little about where it had been for the last 150 years. It appeared never to have left upstate New York.

Scholars now believe that the mystery manuscript is the first recovered memoir written in prison by an African-American, a discovery that Yale University says it made after authenticating the document and acquiring it for its Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The 304-page memoir, titled “The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict, or the Inmate of a Gloomy Prison,” describes the experiences of the author, Austin Reed, from the 1830s to the 1850s in a prison in upstate New York.

Caleb Smith, a professor of English at Yale who has written extensively about...

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A Memoir
by Helen Peppe

"Unsentimental in its character portrayals and forthright yet humorous in its depiction of devastated innocence and family dysfunction, Peppe’s book is a celebration of difference, resilience and the healing power of love."

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 The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation

David Brion Davis. Knopf, $30 (448p) ISBN 978-0-307-26909-6
"In stately prose and with unparalleled command of his subject, he offers a profound historical examination of the termination of servitude in the West—a termination that, however, failed to end slavery’s accompanying racism, whose consequences remain with us still. While requiring much of readers, this is a book of surpassing importance. (Feb.)"
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"Kertzer unravels the relationship between two of 20th-century Europe’s most important political figures and does so in an accessible style that makes for a fast-paced must-read." -- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review 

Read the whole Publisher's Weekly review here. 

"Kertzer is unflinching and relentless in his exposure of the Vatican’s shocking actions."-- Kirkus, Starred Review

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 First published November 1, 2013 (Booklist).

Poor Little Dead Girls…will give the toughest of readers goose bumps. With suspenseful pacing and Gothic diction, Friend skillfully develops each character in this novel, which blends themes of romance and friendship with the glam of Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl (2002) and a sinister private-school mystery reminiscent of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys (2012).” -ALA Booklist

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Age Range: 12 - 18 

“A girl wins a scholarship to an elite boarding school and finds herself entangled in a powerful secret society that threatens her life. Friend writes with a sure, often witty touch … .The story is both immersive and topically relevant. A promising suspense debut.” 

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 Erin Clarke at Knopf has bought, in a pre-empt, debut writer Holly Bodger‘s YA novel 5 to 1, a dark look at the near future as shaped by gender selection in India (boys outnumber girls five to one), told through the alternating perspectives of two teens who dare to challenge the system. Publication is set for spring 2015; Lauren MacLeod at the Strothman Agency did the deal for world rights.

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 We mourn the loss of our client and friend, historian Sheldon Hackney, who was working on a biography of C. Vann Woodward when he died.


Former Penn president Sheldon Hackney dies

He died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in his home in Martha’s Vineyard

· The Daily Pennsylvanian

"Francis Sheldon Hackney, president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1981 to 1993, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in his home in Martha’s Vineyard, according to an obituary in the Vineyard Gazette. He was 79.

Born in Alabama, Hackney worked to increase minority presence on campus and focused on undergraduate education, student financial aid and research funding. His focus in particular on undergraduate education...

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Passion and Pain

A sweet novel about Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, two people who were not particularly sweet.


"Dashiell Hammett remembered his first meeting with Lillian Hellman taking place at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles in 1930. She wore a mustard-colored suit and a cloche hat with feathers, looking utterly out of place amid the flashy movie stars. Hellman, on the other hand, thought that their first meeting took place at the Coconut Grove and that she wore a flowered gown and evening gloves for the occasion.

Coconut Grove or Brown Derby, one thing that's certain is that the two met at a Hollywood party and what followed was an affair that lasted on and off for more than 30 years. In "Lillian & Dash," Sam Toperoff has written a sweet novel about two people who weren't particularly sweet. It's a light, absorbing summer read, entertaining without being hokey. ..."

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