History

A woman of no importance : the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII book cover

A woman of no importance : the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII

Sonia Purnell

eBOOK
History

"The never-before-told story of one woman's heroism that changed the course of the Second World War In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her." This spy was Virginia Hall, a young American woman--rejected from the foreign service because of her gender and her prosthetic leg--who talked her way into the spy organization dubbed Churchill's "ministry of ungentlemanly warfare," and, before the United States had even entered the war, became the first woman to deploy to occupied France. Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies in American history, yet her story remains untold. Just as she did in Clementine, Sonia Purnell uncovers the captivating story of a powerful, influential, yet shockingly overlooked heroine of the Second World War. At a time when sending female secret agents into enemy territory was still strictly forbidden, Virginia Hall came to be known as the "Madonna of the Resistance," coordinating a network of spies to blow up bridges, report on German troop movements, arrange equipment drops for Resistance agents, and recruit and train guerilla fighters. Even as her face covered WANTED posters throughout Europe, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped with her life in a grueling hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown, and her associates all imprisoned or executed. But, adamant that she had "more lives to save," she dove back in as soon as she could, organizing forces to sabotage enemy lines and back up Allied forces landing on Normandy beaches. Told with Purnell's signature insight and novelistic panache, A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war"--

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Dead wake : the last crossing of the Lusitania book cover

Dead wake : the last crossing of the Lusitania

Erik Larson

eBOOK
History

The #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle.

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The splendid and the vile book cover

The splendid and the vile

Erik Larson

eBOOK
History

together."--

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The most spectacular restaurant in the world : the Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the rebirth of New York book cover

The most spectacular restaurant in the world : the Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the rebirth of New York

Tom Roston

eBOOK
History

The remarkable story of a restaurant on top of the world-built by a legend, destroyed in tragedy-and an era in New York City it helped to frame In the 1970s, New York City was plagued by crime, filth, and an ineffective government. The city was falling apart, and even the newly constructed World Trade Center threatened to be a fiasco. But in April 1976, a quarter-mile up on the 107th floor of the North Tower, a new restaurant called Windows on the World opened its doors-a glittering sign that New York wasn't done just yet. In The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World, journalist Tom Roston tells the complete history of this incredible restaurant, from its stunning $14-million opening to 9/11 and its tragic end. There are stories of the people behind it, such as Joe Baum, the celebrated restaurateur, who was said to be the only man who could outspend an unlimited budget; the well-tipped waiters; and the cavalcade of famous guests, as well as everyday people celebrating the key moments in their lives. Roston also charts the changes in American food, from baroque and theatrical to locally sourced and organic. Built on nearly 150 original interviews, The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World is the story of New York City's restaurant culture and the quintessential American drive to succeed.

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Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy book cover

Denmark Vesey's garden : slavery and memory in the cradle of the Confederacy

Ethan J. Kytle

975.703 /Kytle
Nonfiction, History

A book that strikes at the heart of the recent flare-ups over Confederate symbols in Charlottesville, New Orleans, and elsewhere, Denmark Vesey's Garden reveals the deep roots of these controversies and traces them to the heart of slavery in the United States: Charleston, South Carolina, where almost half of the U.S. slave population stepped onto our shores, where the first shot at Fort Sumter began the Civil War, and where Dylann Roof shot nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church, the congregation of Denmark Vesey, a black revolutionary who plotted a massive slave insurrection in 1822. As early as 1865, former slaveholders and their descendants began working to preserve a romanticized memory of the antebellum South. In contrast, former slaves, their descendants, and some white allies have worked to preserve an honest, unvarnished account of slavery as the cruel system it was. Examining public rituals, controversial monuments, and whitewashed historical tourism, Denmark Vesey's Garden tracks these two rival memories from the Civil War all the way to contemporary times, where two segregated tourism industries still reflect these opposing impressions of the past, exposing a hidden dimension of America's deep racial divide. Denmark Vesey's Garden joins the small bookshelf of major, paradigm-shifting new interpretations of slavery's enduring legacy in the United States. --inside jacket.

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Though this is an excellent read for a Charleston lover like me, it also makes for a microcosm of slavery, Lost Cause mythology, and racism in the South in general. The book traces the many filters the question of slavery has been put through over the past few centuries, and how it's evolved and been remembered. Highly recommend for the history buff! -Amanda

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington book cover

You never forget your first : a biography of George Washington

Alexis Coe

BIOGRAPHY Washington, George
Nonfiction, Biographies, History

"In a genre overdue for a shakeup, Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he's not quite the man we remember Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, chased rich young women, caused an international incident, and never backed down--even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won. Coe focuses on his activities off the battlefield--like espionage and propaganda. After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War, Washington once again shocked the world by giving up power, only to learn his compatriots wouldn't allow it. The founders pressured him into the presidency--twice. He established enduring norms but left office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created. Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty finally confronted his greatest hypocrisy--what to do with the hundreds of men, women, and children he owned--before succumbing to a brutal death. Alexis Coe combines rigorous research and unsentimental storytelling, finally separating the man from the legend."--

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This is the first biography of Washington I’ve read since grade school, and was refreshing in its stories of Washington’s relationship to the women in his life and other human foibles that frequently get brushed over. Of course, everything involving the Founders these days gets colored through the lens of Hamilton the Musical, so being able to make those connections was also enjoyable. If you’re looking for a solid biography of Washington that doesn't intimidate, this is a great pick. -Amanda

The gay revolution : the story of the struggle book cover

The gay revolution : the story of the struggle

Lillian Faderman

eBOOK
LGBTQ+, Nonfiction, History

Booklist Reviews 2015 August #1 *Starred Review* A Lambda Literary and Stonewall Book Award-winning author, scholar, and retired college professor, Faderman has crafted an epic yet remarkably intimate work that belongs among the most definitive civil rights titles, LGBTQ-specific or otherwise. Based on more than 150 interviews and the author's exhaustive research, The Gay Revolution begins by recalling the government's gay witch hunts of the 1950s and spans the next six and a half decades of the ongoing struggle for legal and societal equality. All of the prominent landmarks of the gay rights movement (the Stonewall riots; Anita Bryant's Save Our Children political coalition; Don't Ask, Don't Tell) are covered thoroughly, but Faderman's writing conveys such fresh passion that readers will feel like they are experiencing these history-altering moments in real time. However, it's the lesser-told stories--such as the rise and eventual decline of the early gay rights group, the Mattachine Society, and its founder, Harry Hay, who went on to start the Radical Faeries movement--that bring voice to the brave, trailblazing heroes who risked so much to help chip away at the hostile and pervasive intolerance that once singularly defined the homosexual American experience.

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A black women's history of the United States book cover

A black women's history of the United States

Daina Ramey Berry

eBOOK
Nonfiction, History

"A Black Women's History of the United States is a critical survey of black women's complicated legacy in America, as it takes into account their exploitation and victimization as well as their undeniable and substantial contributions to the country since its inception"--

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