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History

Bellevue : three centuries of medicine and mayhem at America's most storied hospital book cover

Bellevue : three centuries of medicine and mayhem at America's most storied hospital

David M. Oshinsky

362.11 /Oshinsky
Nonfiction, History

A history of the iconic public hospital on New York City's East Side describes the changes in American medicine from 1730 to modern times as it traces the building's origins as an almshouse and pesthouse to its current status as a revered place of first-class care.

Candice's picture

This is an engrossing book not just about a fascinating, storied hospital, but also the history of medical practices throughout centuries in a burgeoning city. -Candice

Hippie food : how back-to-the-landers, longhairs, and revolutionaries changed the way we eat book cover

Hippie food : how back-to-the-landers, longhairs, and revolutionaries changed the way we eat

Jonathan Kauffman

394.12 /Kauffman
History

An enlightening narrative history--an entertaining fusion of Tom Wolfe and Michael Pollan--that traces the colorful origins of once unconventional foods and the diverse fringe movements, charismatic gurus, and counterculture elements that brought them to the mainstream and created a distinctly American cuisine. Food writer Jonathan Kauffman journeys back more than half a century--to the 1960s and 1970s--to tell the story of how a coterie of unusual men and women embraced an alternative lifestyle that would ultimately change how modern Americans eat. Impeccably researched, Hippie Food chronicles how the longhairs, revolutionaries, and back-to-the-landers rejected the square establishment of President Richard Nixon's America and turned to a more idealistic and wholesome communal way of life and food. From the mystical rock-and-roll cult known as the Source Family and its legendary vegetarian restaurant in Hollywood to the Diggers' brown bread in the Summer of Love to the rise of the co-op and the origins of the organic food craze, Kauffman reveals how today's quotidian whole-foods staples--including sprouts, tofu, yogurt, brown rice, and whole-grain bread--were introduced and eventually became part of our diets. From coast to coast, through Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Kauffman tracks hippie food's journey from niche oddity to a cuisine that hit every corner of this country. A slick mix of gonzo playfulness, evocative detail, skillful pacing, and elegant writing, Hippie Food is a lively, engaging, and informative read that deepens our understanding of our culture and our lives today.

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We are as gods : back to the land in the 1970s on the quest for a new America book cover

We are as gods : back to the land in the 1970s on the quest for a new America

Kate Daloz

973.924 /Daloz
History

"Between 1970 and 1974 ten million Americans abandoned the city, the commercialism, and all the inauthentic bourgeois comforts of the Eisenhower-era America of their parents. Instead, they went back to the land. It was the only time in modern history that urbanization has gone into reverse. Kate Daloz follows the dreams and ideals of a small group of back-to-the-landers to tell the story of a nationwide movement and moment. She shows how the faltering, hopeful, but impractical impulses of that first generation sowed the seeds for the organic farming movement and the transformation of American agriculture and food tastes. In the Myrtle Hill commune and neighboring Entropy Acres, high-minded ideas of communal living and shared decision-making crash headlong into the realities of brutal Northern weather and the colossal inconvenience of having no plumbing or electricity. Nature, it turns out, is not always a generous or provident host--frosts are hard, snowfalls smother roads, and small wood fires do not heat imperfectly insulated geodesic domes. Group living turns out to be harder than expected, too. Being free to do what you want and set your own rules leads to some unexpected limitations: once the group starts growing a little marijuana they can no longer call on the protection of the law, especially against a rogue member of a nearby community. For some of the group, the lifestyle is truly a saving grace; they credit it with their survival. For others, it is a prison sentence"--

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Added by Anne W

Hellhound on his trail : the stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin book cover

Hellhound on his trail : the stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin

Hampton Sides

364.1524 /Sides
History

"April, 1967: a prison escape. James Earl Ray, nondescript thief and con man, drifts through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he is galvanized by George Wallace's racist presidential campaign. February, 1968: a Memphis garbage strike. Martin Luther King joins the sanitation workers' cause, but their march turns violent. King vows to return to Memphis in April. Historian Sides follows Ray and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King's funeral, Sides gives us a cross-cut narrative of the assassin's flight and the 65-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England-- a massive manhunt ironically led by Hoover's FBI. Drawing on previously unpublished material, this nonfiction thriller illuminates how history is so often a matter of the petty bringing down the great"--From publisher description.

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The great Halifax explosion : a World War I story of treachery, tragedy, and extraordinary heroism book cover

The great Halifax explosion : a World War I story of treachery, tragedy, and extraordinary heroism

John U. Bacon

971.603 /Bacon
History

The astonishing true story of history’s largest manmade explosion before the atomic bomb, and its world-changing aftermath, from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon December 1917: the freighter Mont-Blanc steamed out of New York Harbor packed with a staggering load of explosives intended to break the ghastly stalemate on the Western Front. The floating powder keg bobbed up the Eastern seaboard for four days, avoiding rocky shores and German U-boats. But after reaching the safety of Halifax Harbour, a collision sparked a fire on deck, the panicked crew fled, and the burning ghost ship drifted toward the city. At 9:04 a.m. a cataclysm unlike anything the world had ever seen erupted. This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon’s The Great Halifax Explosion: a ticktock account of the hours preceding the disaster, the fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast’s 11,000 casualties, and the aftermath. The blast dominated global headlines, transformed Canada and the United States from adversaries to allies, and, years later, gave J. Robert Oppenheimer his best case study in the power of a weapon of mass destruction. Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon’s deeply researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, bravery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.

Anne M's picture

Although this is an incredibly terrible and tragic event (from the explosion itself to the tsunami, the blizzard, and the thaw that caused flooding), Bacon highlights the best moments of neighbors helping neighbors, fellow countrymen helping fellow countrymen, and the international response. This event may have brought the United States and Canada closer through their gestures of aid and thankfulness. For fans of Erik Larson, this is a riveting read. -Anne M

Death in Florence : the Medici, Savonarola, and the battle for the soul of a renaissance city book cover

Death in Florence : the Medici, Savonarola, and the battle for the soul of a renaissance city

Paul Strathern

945.51 /Strathern
History

"By the end of the fifteenth century, Florence was well established as the home of the Renaissance. As generous patrons to the likes of Botticelli and Michelangelo, the ruling Medici embodied the progressive humanist spirit of the age, and in Lorenzo de' Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent) they possessed a diplomat capable of guarding the militarily weak city in a climate of constantly shifting allegiances between the major Italian powers. However, in the form of Savonarola, an unprepossessing provincial monk, Lorenzo found his nemesis. Filled with Old Testament fury and prophecies of doom, Savonarola's sermons reverberated among a disenfranchised population, who preferred medieval Biblical certainties to the philosophical interrogations and intoxicating surface glitter of the Renaissance. Savonarola's aim was to establish a 'City of God' for his followers, a new kind of democratic state, the likes of which the world had never seen before. The battle between these two men would be a fight to the death, a series of sensational events--invasions, trials by fire, the 'Bonfire of the Vanities', terrible executions and mysterious deaths--featuring a cast of the most important and charismatic Renaissance figures." --

Candice's picture

A detailed, and engrossing, recounting of the period of time in Florence, Italy, when the Medici family's control was faltering, and a preacher named Savonarola was beginning to exert power through his foreboding sermons. It didn't go well. -Candice

America's favorite holidays : candid histories book cover

America's favorite holidays : candid histories

Bruce David Forbes

394.26973 /Forbes
History

"America's Favorite Holidays explores how five of America's culturally dominant holidays--Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving--came to be what they are today, combinations of seasonal and religious celebrations heavily influenced by modern popular culture. Distilling information from a wide range of sources, Bruce David Forbes reveals the often surprising history behind the traditions of each holiday. The book offers a comprehensive look at the Christian origins of these holidays and also touches on Passover, the religions of ancient Rome, Celtic practices, Mexico's Day of the Dead, and American civil religion. America's Favorite Holidays answers our curiosity about the origins of our holidays and the many ways in which religion and culture mix"--Provided by publisher.

Candice's picture

I love this book, I wish it had more holidays in it! It tells the history behind several of the most popular days of celebration--where and when they started, how they spread, how they've changed. -Candice