From the first heart transplant to the federal courts of New York City, these four reads take an in-depth look at the death of Bruce Tucker, the transition of America into a one-click society, the groundbreaking work of William Smith, and the callousness of a billion-dollar industry.
The Districts: Stories of American Justice from the Federal Courts
by Johnny Dwyer
Alfred A. Knopf 368 pages, $28.95
Delve into this comprehensive look into the court system within Manhattan and Brooklyn. The two federal courts of Southern District Court and Eastern District Court keep order in New York City. Johnny Dwyer provides multiple stories as examples that range from a Mafioso in Queens helping depose of a body to a college student caught at the JFK airport with cocaine to a Manhattan hedge fund manager that lies to investors. Dwyer takes an in-depth exploration of the courtrooms through the lives of the judges, attorneys, prosecutors, and defendants. The crimes mentioned in the book include drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and white-collar crime. The Districts takes a hard and honest look at intent, deception, justice, and reasonable doubt.
The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South
by Chip Jones
Jeter Publishing 400 pages, $28.00
Chip Jones recounts the horrific events surrounding the first heart transplant which occurred in 1968 when Bruce Tucker, a black man, went to the top hospital in Virginia after a head injury only to have his heart removed and placed inside a white businessman. This book from Pulitzer Price-nominee journalist delves into Tucker’s death and how he became a human guinea pig without his family knowing. These events reflect a long history of the mistreatment African Americans have endeared which began over a century ago with horrific actions including cadaver harvesting. The 1960s saw a race for the first successful heart transplants in a book that balances medical history, legal drama, and the issues of life and death told through the lens of racial injustice that has been around for centuries. Also included is a forward from Ben Jealous who is a social justice activist.
Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps
by Oxford University Museum of Natural History
University of Chicago Press 256 pages, $65.00
Full-color geological map illustrations, geological cross-sections, strata tables, fossil illustrations, and photographs are included within Strata: William Smith’s Geological Maps. Also included in Strata is Smith’s 1799 geological map of Bath, detailed stratigraphical country maps, and the groundbreaking map of strata. The information is thanks to a variety of sources such as the London Natural History Museum, the Geological Society, and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This includes the first complete presentation of the revolutionary work of William Smith, a geologist, from the nineteenth century. He’s considered the father of English geology. This book illustrates the career of William Smith as he went from an apprentice to a surveyor and collector of fossils and even his imprisonment over debt problems. An introduction from Douglas Palmer describes Smith’s work as it relates to structure specifically towards geographical mapping and theories of biostratigraphical. The book is divided into four parts and contains sheets from Smith’s 1815 hand-colored map, cross-sections, and fossil illustrations. Between each section are essays commenting on Smith’s work in areas of hydrology, mining, cartography, and agriculture. This testament to Smith’s career includes a forward from Robert Macfarlane and an awe-inspiring collection.
Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
by Alec MacGillis
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 400 pages $28.00
Upton Sinclair published a novel with the subtitle A Story of Ford-America which called out a billion-dollar company for how it underpaid employees and had dangerous working conditions. Going forward eighty-three years, Amazon.com has well over a trillion dollars while Ford Motor Company is worth around thirty billion dollars. One-click America has intensified under the pandemic of the Coronavirus due to the increase in online shopping. As Amazon grows through deliveries, corporate campuses, and data centers, a separation between winner and loser cities begins to grow. The book focuses on the fabric of society unraveling which is told through stories about those that have succeeded and those that haven’t. These examples include high-paid Seattle workers in offices where a black neighborhood once was, Virginia homeowners that work against a data center that could damage their local environment, and an El Paso office supply firm that works against Amazon’s governmental procurement. MacGillis also includes in /Fulfillment/ how Amazon become a Washington D.C. force, the growing inequality between the poor and rich, and how every click online is remaking America.