Treme: The Complete First Season

DVD ($59.95)

The acclaimed HBO drama set in post-Katrina New Orleans arrives on DVD and Blu-ray with bonus features that let readers explore the real-life neighborhood and rich African-American and Creole culture around which the show revolves. The large ensemble cast includes a few familiar faces (John Goodman, 2011 Oscar winner Melissa Leo, Steve Zahn). But the real stars of “Treme” are its interconnected stories of musicians, chefs, politicians, residents, teachers and other citizens picking up the pieces in the aftermath of America’s greatest natural disaster.

The Civil War: The First Year Told By Those Who Lived It

Edited by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears & Aaron Sheehan-Dean

Hardcover, 815 pages ($37.50)

The first of four volumes to be released over the next four years, this history-rich collection chronicles the opening 14 months of the war through the letters, speeches, diary entries, military transmissions, newspaper reports, memoirs and poems of a spectrum of Americans---white and black, soldiers and civilians, men and women---whose voices come hauntingly alive on the 150th anniversary of a bloody conflict that would shape our nation forever.

Rare Bird Alert

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers

CD ($18.98)

He’s best known as a comedian, but Steve Martin’s “sideline” as a bluegrass banjo picker is no joke. His first CD, “The Crow,” won a Grammy last year. On his second, backed by the outstanding Steep Canyon Rangers band, he gallops and glides with impressive instrumental chops through 13 more original tunes. Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks make vocal guest appearances, and Martin’s trademark wit shines on the clever “Athiests Don’t Have No Songs” and “King Tut,” a string-band re-do of his 1978 novelty tune.