From the description: "After the 2008 recession, print book sales took a hit, but now BookScan has recorded consistent growth in print book sales year over year for the past five years. What has been driving these sales? Surprisingly, adult nonfiction sales. Covering topics from history, politics and law, nonfiction saw a growth of 13 percent during the fiscal year. On this episode of The Oxford Comment we take a look at what has narrative nonfiction turning the industry on its head. Host Erin Katie Meehan sad down with bookstore owner Angela Maria Spring and a panel of esteemed Oxford authors to discuss the emerging trends of diversity and education in publishing."
The podcast can also be listened to at these addresses:
- Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/oupacademic/episode46theoxfordcomment
- Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-oxford-comment/e/55402908
- OUPBlog: https://blog.oup.com/2018/07/new-narrative-nonfiction-podcast-oxford-comment/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3BL6v5d5uA
Of course, the big news of the week in the world of Douglass and books was the announcement of the finalists for the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.
Now, there might be some confusion due to the name of the prize. This is not a prize for the best book on Frederick Douglass. Heck, even the Lincoln Prize is not for the best book about Abraham Lincoln. This is a prize for the best book about slavery, resistance, or abolition. That is, it is for the best book about the subjects that concerned Douglass's life. Douglass was a great man, but part of studying him involves studying and understanding the world and movements that he inhabited. To award a prize to a brilliant book that deepens our understanding of the exploitation of human bodies or the ways that individuals used the rhetoric of their masters to seize their own freedom, or explore the limits and defenses of freedom at the nation's borders would be something that I think Douglass himself could support.
I'm not going to lie: I sincerely wanted to be among the finalists. Then, when I saw the list, I was bowled over and bowed down like Wayne and Garth. They are:
- Daina Ramey Berry, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press). This book won the SHEAR Book Prize last weekend and, oh my!, what a tragic tale. Masters selling the dead bodies of their slaves for profit. Of course they were, because they had to get every drop of blood, every penny out of African-descended bodies.
- Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (Simon & Schuster). This book is exciting. You may know about Ona Judge from the first Drunk History segment. Dunbar tells her story quite soberly. A woman who ran from George Washington and refused to return. I think I know what I will assign this fall.
- Sharla M. Fett, Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave Trade (University of North Carolina Press) I actually reviewed this book for a journal. Fett studies three ships caught illegally transporting Africans. The people in the ships holds went through multiple dislocations, living in a limbo that was not slavery but not really freedom, and shunted to borderlands even when returned to the continent of Africa, but not their homes.
- Tiya Miles, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press). I confess to being unfamiliar with this book, but I love Miles's other work. I pre-ordered her Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era, then wrote her an actual fan letter about it after I reviewed it. She has a sympathy for her subjects that is so necessary in historical work, and a clear insight to people who exist in places that don't fall into neat or expected definitions.
The best thing about this impressive list? All of the authors are women and three are women of color! As the database says, "Women Also Know History." This is a victory!
Good luck to all because they are all worthy of a win.