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What: “On Juneteenth” by Annette Gordon-Reed

Why: Black history is American history, and vice versa – and few writers make that more clear than Annette Gordon-Reed, the Harvard law professor who won a Pulitzer for her book “The Hemingses of Monticello.” More recently, as Juneteenth was recognized as a public holiday, she wrote a book explaining the origins of that celebration. In this slim volume, she also explores the history of Texas, which goes beyond the cowboys and oilmen of popular imagination. Gordon-Reed is from Texas, where her family goes way back, so the book is also something of a memoir. Gordon’s straightforward prose makes the delivery of the events she’s recounting even more powerful. There’s no doubt this lawyer-historian has her facts down, even if they are facts that have been ignored or denied through most of our history. I learned a lot from this relatively short book, about Texas and America and Annette Gordon-Reed. It’s kind of like taking a college seminar with an especially gifted and generous professor. And lucky for us, no exam at the end.

Where: This is available as a print book, e-book and e-audiobook from the Monroe County Public Library system.

How: You can request books online by logging in to your account and get e-books and e-audiobooks 24/7 at If you don’t have a card, you can visit your local branch or register online to get one. Questions? 

Recommended by: Nancy Klingener, community affairs managerSee previous recommendations at