The Air-Line to Seattle: Studies in Literary and Historical Writing About America, Kenneth S. Lynn (University of Chicago). History professor's witty, iconoclastic collection of essays concerns literary and historical writing about America.
Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just, Kenneth R. Manning (Oxford). Biography of a slave's grandson who worked against the odds to become one of America's prominent scientists.
The Chosen Place, the Timeless People, Paule Marshall (Vintage Contemporaries). Novel about a remote Caribbean island, its black, poor inhabitants and their cultural collision with white members of an ambitious American research team that arrives.
The Cotton Club, Jim Haskins (Plume). The book that inspired the movie examines the glitzy Harlem showplace of the greatest black entertainers in the '20s and '30s.