History

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"--

Anne W's picture

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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Added by Tom

Churchill and Orwell : the fight for freedom book cover

Churchill and Orwell : the fight for freedom

Thomas E. Ricks

941.084 /Ricks
History, Biographies

A "dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, with a focus on the pivotal years from the mid-1930s through the 1940s, when their farsighted vision and inspired action in the face of the threat of fascism and communism helped preserve democracy for the world"--

Heidi L's picture

A compelling read about two very different men who shared a horror of fascism. I learned a lot about the Spanish civil war from Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia, but did not know much about his life otherwise; this book filled that gap. -Heidi L

Cathedral : the story of its construction book cover

Cathedral : the story of its construction

David Macaulay

726.6 /Macaulay
History

Heidi L's picture

This book from the Children's Room is a great introduction to how a cathedral was built. David Macaulay's drawings are simple yet amazingly detailed, and are a chronological depiction of the construction process. The laborers, stone cutters, and craftsmen are included. as well as the tools and scaffolding they used. The perspective of some of the drawings is dizzying, and shows the contrast between the size and height of a cathedral among the little houses in a medieval town. Originally published in 1973, it won numerous awards including a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. -Heidi L

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

Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II / Douglas A. Blackmon. book cover

Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II / Douglas A. Blackmon.

Douglas A Blackmon

973.00496 /Blackmon
History

Maeve's picture

Douglas A. Blackmon, Wall Street Journal bureau chief, wrote the groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history, “the lease (essentially the sale), of convicts to “commercial interests” between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. -Maeve

Citizen : an American lyric book cover

Citizen : an American lyric

Claudia Rankine

811.54 /Rankine
History

"Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV--everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named 'post-race' society."--from publisher's description.

Maeve's picture

Claudia Rankine, winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize and chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, 2104 work,Citizen: an American Lyric recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. -Maeve