New Releases for April 2024

With the new month comes five new releases from SIU Press. From history to memoir to poetry, you don’t want to miss these!

Sudden Deaths in St. Louis

Sudden Deaths in St. Louis: Coroner Bias in the Gilded Age by Sarah E. Lirley. This Gilded Age social history of death investigations in the urban Midwest examines the role of St. Louis coroners and how ordinary people informed coroners’ investigations and verdicts. Case studies explore the lives of the deceased as well as their families and communities, press coverage of the deaths, and the coroners themselves.

“This meticulously researched book uses nineteenth-century investigations of suspicious deaths as a window into the private circumstances and public meanings of the lives and deaths of St. Louisians. Lirley’s exhaustive research into coroner’s records is a treasure trove of information about the daily worlds of women, African Americans, and immigrants navigating work, domestic conflict, pregnancy, alcoholism, and depression.”—Catherine E. Rymph, author of Republican Women: Feminism and Conservatism from Suffrage through the Rise of the New Right 

One Step Ahead

New in paperback is One Step Ahead: A Jewish Fugitive in Hitler’s Europe by Alfred Feldman. Through compelling personal accounts and family correspondence, One Step Ahead documents Alfred Feldman’s harrowing flight into exile as he and his family fled the pogroms that flooded across Nazi-occupied Europe. It is a memoir of horror and hope recounted by a man who survived the organized terror of Hitler’s “Final Solution” as it destroyed entire generations of European Jewish life within ten catastrophic years in the mid-twentieth century. Feldman’s memoir conveys the searing pain that has never left him, while demonstrating the triumphant humanity of a survivor.

“In this straightforward, often riveting memoir, Feldman recounts the harrowing years of his youth and young adulthood, which he spent eluding the Nazis…. Escape is the memoir’s leitmotif, and Feldman, as both survivor and refugee from the holocaust, gives that theme a quiet power.”—Publishers Weekly


Burn by Sara Henning. In these poems, we follow a speaker as she works through the loss of young love, the death of her parents, marriage’s hardness and beauty, sexual assault, and the devastation of a pandemic—evolutions of trauma that fracture time and alter perception. Twinned with these extremes are shimmering manifestations of joy only an imperfect world can make possible.

“‘Memory guts me open,’ Sara Henning writes in her dazzling new collection Burn. In these poems, burning is violence, it is grief, but it is also love and longing and desire. Henning explores a world ‘on the verge/of ending,’ under threat of floods, ice storms, and fires, a world in which men do violence to women’s bodies and beloved mothers die. With gorgeous formal innovation, including a sestina, pantoum, haibun, and a crown of sonnets, these poems look unflinchingly at love and danger. Fire causes damage here but also reveals a new language, as the speaker finds joy and delight in new
love—‘we are flameless combustion, licked flint, / divine red.’”—Nicole Cooley, author of Of Marriage 

Pulling off the Sheets

Pulling off the Sheets: The Second Ku Klux Klan in Deep Southern Illinois by Darrel Dexter and John A. Beadles. Pulling off the Sheets tells the previously obscured history of the Second Ku Klux Klan which formed in deep southern Illinois in the early 1920s. This important historical account sets out to expose the lasting impact of the Klan on race relations today.

“This well-documented history should be read by anyone who wants to understand and work to eliminate racial divides in southern Illinois.”
Sheila Simon, former lieutenant governor of Illinois

Civil Twilight

Civil Twilight by Cynthia Huntington. Civil twilight is the astronomical term for the minutes just before sunrise and just after sunset. In this collection, National Book Award finalist Cynthia Huntington examines the civil twilight we live in now, unsure of whether the darkness is closing in or whether the light is about to break.