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Pre-publication praise:

“The author makes a convincing case that, without France, the United States may never have gained independence.”  Kirkus Reviews.

“Shachtman illuminates the impact of French contributions to American military leadership, resources, and engineering knowledge, while also paying close attention to the effects of French-led international negotiations with Britain and Spain. Throughout he emphasizes the roles played by King Louis XVI, the Marquis de Lafayette, and others who worked closely with more-well-known American figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin….. Of interest to American-history enthusiasts and Francophiles alike.”  Publishers Weekly.

“A terrific read, incredibly researched, vivid, persuasive, wonderful details and analysis – everything you want history to be.”  Constance Rosenblum, former section editor, The New York Times.

“At last a full and compelling account of the crucial role that France and the French played in the American Revolutionary War.  This book deserves a place on the bookshelf of every American history buff.” Jeswald Salacuse, Distinguished Professor and Former Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

The Day America Crashed

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The Day America Crashed by Tom ShachtmanTHE DAY AMERICA CRASHED: A Narrative Account of the Great Stock Market Crash of October 24, 1929.

Something happened on a fall day in 1929 that permanently altered the direction of the nation’s history and scarred the lives of an entire generation of Americans. October 24, “Black Thursday” was not only the day of the stock market crash; it was the day that the Roaring Twenties fell silent, and the nation began its slide into a decade of depression.

This hour-by-hour narrative documentary book, based on the personal recollections of hundreds of individuals, reconstructs the events of the fateful day as they affected the rich and powerful bankers and brokers of Wall Street, the small investors and businessmen, the farmers, and the multitude of white- and blue-collar workers across the country. Into the narrative also are folded capsules that together give a broader snapshot of what life was like in America at that time.

“Shachtman is able to convey the profound and extensive sense of shock that altered the prevailing psychology of the times.” The New York Times

“A sensitive evocation of Black Thursday’s market drama.” Barron’s

“An enlightening account of a dark and almost unbelievable day.” Dallas Morning News

“Absorbing, impressively researched.” Publishers Weekly

“The best of the three [books on the Crash].” Detroit Free Press

“Shachtman manages to make all of this clear, even to those of us who know nothing of how the market operates.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

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The Phony War

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The Phony War-1939-1940 by Tom ShachtmanTHE PHONY WAR, 1939-1940.

Between the time that Germany and the Soviet Union carved up Poland between them, in September of 1939, and the invasion of France and the Low Countries by Germany in May of 1940 was a period in which the war fell into a lull, eight months that became known as “the phony war.” This book tells the story of that period. Rather than being a time in which nothing was happening, it was a period that determined the entire later course of the war.

“Tom Shachtman tells the story … with haunting eloquence.” New York Times Book Review

“Superbly told and cleanly written … moves quickly and engagingly … opens with a brilliant sequence in which a series of lavish parties are described.” Baltimore Sun

“An excellent narrative that describes [the period] in brilliant detail.” Charleston Evening Post

“Panoramic popular history … vivid description …. He’s dug into the archives for a view from the top and excerpted autobiographies for the experience of ordinary people.” Publishers Weekly

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The FBI-KGB War by Robert J. Lamphere with Tom ShachtmanTHE FBI-KGB WAR: A Special Agent’s Story, by Robert J. Lamphere and Tom Shachtman.

This is the inside story of the leader of the FBI’s counterintelligence unit during the height of the Cold War, and a personal account of the man who uncovered and broke the Russian atomic-spy ring centered around Julius Rosenberg. It also includes Lamphere’s recollections of earlier espionage cases involving Judith Coplon, Gerhardt Eisler and others, and a special sections about Kim Philby, the Russian double-agent inside of British intelligence who for a time sat at a desk opposite Lamphere at FBI headquarters in Washington.

“This is a lively, fascinating and careful treatment of superpower spying in the atomic age …. Few contributions to this subject are likely to be of greater value.” Wall Street Journal

“With sections as good as le Carré, a fascinating look at the world of espionage and counterespionage.” Kirkus Reviews

“Lamphere’s interesting and highly readable story (put together by Tom Shachtman) forces us to confront the stereotypical image of the FBI held by so many liberals.” The New Republic

“A narrative as riveting as any spy thriller.” Newsday

“Kudos should go to Tom Shachtman, Lamphere’s ‘ghost,’ for a well written, meticulously researched manuscript on a subject of international interest and concern.” San Diego Union

For a glimpse into Bob’s extraordinary life, see The New York Times’ obituary.

The CIA praised THE FBI-KGB WAR as the most important and detailed book ever written on the activities of the KGB and FBI.

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Airlift To America

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 Airlift to America: How Barack Obama, Sr., John F. Kennedy, Tom Mboya, and 800 East African Students Changed Their World and Ours by Tom ShachtmanAIRLIFT TO AMERICA: HOW BARACK OBAMA SR., JOHN F. KENNEDY, TOM MBOYA, AND 800 EAST AFRICAN STUDENTS CHANGED THEIR WORLD AND OURS was published in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press. Reviews from the Washington Post and The Nation echoed pre-pub reviews by Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. The foreword is by the great singer and social activist Harry Belafonte, who along with Jackie Robinson and Sidney Poitier signed the first appeal to the public for support for the airlift, fifty years ago.

“This book fills in a piece of Barack Obama’s background. Quite an important piece, in that the subject is the so-called airlift, between 1959 and ’63, of hundreds of young Africans to the United States, where they studied at colleges and universities …. The idea was to let promising young Africans experience firsthand the freedom and promise of American life. No less an analyst than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. thought the program would advance the cause of civil rights on both continents.” – Washington Post

“Airlift offers an intriguing tidbit of US history and a look back at a brief moment when Many Americans and Africans caught glimpses of a shared and hopeful future.” – The Nation

Kirkus Service lauded the book’s “revealing character sketches” of individual students and their fascinating lives, and summed up the book by saying it offers “a compelling portrait of nation-building abroad and nation-changing at home.”

Publishers Weekly: “A memorable and poignant recounting of a significant endeavor that is still scoring successes around the world, this book is not to be missed by African and American history buffs.”

BookBrowse –Editors Choice — “This thorough, patiently researched, and at times moving account of dedicated young people hungry for an education and those who helped them receive it will appeal to students of American history in the 1960’s in particular, and anyone interested in an important turning-point in the struggle for human rights in the U.S. and in Africa …. I came away with my idealism refreshed. The architects of the student airlifts believed in freedom, human dignity and self-determination; the students they helped believed that through education they could help a nation. By having the courage to act on those beliefs, and the determination to persevere through delay and defeat, they would change the world in ways they could never have imagined.”

AIRLIFT TO AMERICA is the never-before-told and quite heroic story of the 1959-1963 airlifts from East Africa that helped Barack Obama, Sr., father of the president, and Wangari Maathai, future winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, among hundreds of others, to study at American and Canadian colleges and universities. The airlifts and their graduates changed not only the future course of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and other nations of East Africa, but also the course of U.S. race relations. Jack Kennedy’s donation to enable the 1960 airlift became an important issue in that year’s American presidential election, and was a factor in swinging enough African-American votes into his column to give him the victory.

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Decade of Shocks

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Decade of Shocks by Tom ShachtmanDECADE OF SHOCKS, Dallas to Watergate, 1963-1974. 

America entered the post-World War II era with a set of assumptions that were both widely held and fundamental to our identity. We believed in the security, decency, and legitimacy of our leaders, in the vigor and continuing health of our economy, in our incomparable military strength, in our limitless resources, and in our innate capacity for peaceful existence among the races. One by one, these assumptions were shattered by the Decade of Shocks.

We found that we can’t win every war, that our cities can burn, that our children can reject what we have built, that the racial divide continues despite efforts to erase it, that terrorists can strike anywhere, and that our leaders may be shot before our eyes – or betray us behind our backs.

Organized around the categories of shocks to the body politic – the assassinations, the riots, the economic swings, the black, youth, and women’s movements, the escalating price of technology – this book provides a vividly detailed account of the years of seismic change, and an analysis that shows how and why America came out of the Decade of Shocks polarized and prey to a crisis mentality.

“Alongside a highly readable, sensitive survey of a tumultuous decade, Shachtman offers an analysis that burrows deep into our national character.” Publishers Weekly

“With perception and detail, Shachtman replays … modern history from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the resignation of President Richard Nixon …. A disquieting but functional view of the United States during the most tumultuous era of our time.” Milwaukee Sentinel

“A vivid, thoughtful and evocative piece of popular history.” Morris Dickstein, Columbia University.

“An impressive work.” Henry Steele Commager.

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