Reviews and Blog Posts: history

White fire

by Douglas J Preston

Reviewer Rating:
4

The latest of the FBI Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child in which the authors take on an old mining story and combine it with current crimes being committed in Roaring Fork, Colorado, a very wealthy ski resort.  The authors are not very subtle in their description...

Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners

The Night Circus

Every five years, the Young Adult Library Services Association creates a list of Outstanding Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learners in collaboration with academic librarians.

Whether you are a high school student thinking of heading off to college soon, an adult considering returning to school, or at any stage in your life and wanting some direction in your continuing education, the 2014 list is a diverse group of books, nonfiction and fiction, in various categories, that will expand your thoughts about the world around you. The books are at different reading levels and in different formats, and there's something here that should both interest and challenge nearly anyone interested in feeding their mind.

How the Irish saved civilization

by Thomas Cahill

Reviewer Rating:
2

I wanted to like this book. I had heard good things, but apparently I have been spoiled by modern narrative non-fiction. Cahill runs through pre-medieval history, spending FAR too much time on Rome and Greece (1/3 of the book), in strict chronological order and never really weaving a story, or...

National Jewish Book Awards

Like Dreamers

The Jewish Book Council recently announced the winners of the 2013 National Jewish Book Awards.

According to the Jewish Book Council, "Now in its 63rd year, the National Jewish Book Awards is the longest-running North American awards program in the field of Jewish literature. Established to recognize outstanding books of Jewish interest in various categories, it has earned its place as one of the nation's premiere literary honors."

Some of the winners and finalists include:

Waking Sleeping Beauty

Reviewer Rating:
5

Did you ever wonder why Disney had such a "hot streak" with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Aladdin and then the magic seemed to fade? Waking Sleeping Beauty is the behind the scenes story of Disney Animation during this time. Told with all archival...

Pop Microhistories: Great Big Stories about Extremely Specific Subjects

Tubes

Good news for popular nonfiction readers: we've recently published a new online booklist chock-full of microhistories. So what is a microhistory, anyway?

The term has meant different things to different people over the years. First used by historians to describe close investigations into the lives of common people, early examples of the practice include Carlo Ginzburg's The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller and Natalie Zemon Davis's The Return of Martin Guerre.

David and Goliath

by Malcolm Gladwell

Reviewer Rating:
4

Gladwell takes on perceptions of advantage & disadvantage in his latest work of research that encompasses sociology, psychology, and history. Starting with the foundation of the story of David and Goliath--and the historical facts about this oft told story--Gladwell uses many examples from the real world to allow the reader...

Hannah Arendt

Reviewer Rating:
4

The German film director, Margarethe von Trotta, chooses stories about strong, conflicted women so it is not surprising her latest film is a biopic about Hannah Arendt. In the 1930s, Arendt was prohibited from teaching in Germany because she was Jewish. She was stripped of her citizenship, escaped a camp and...

Boxers

by Gene Luen Yang

Reviewer Rating:
4

The Boxer Rebellion is something I'd heard of but didn't have a clue what it was (other than a funny term that might refer to underwear).  I didn't even know it happened in China.  This book not only gave me a basic understanding of the event, but gives a fictional...

Alchemy and Meggy Swann

by Karen Cushman

Reviewer Rating:
4

Alchemy and Meggy Swann is set in Elizabethan London, 1573, when many of the superstitions of the Medieval era were just starting to give way to the seeds of Empiricism; when the printing press was revolutionizing the ways people thought, read, and communicated; and when the theater was about to...

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