History

The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness book cover

The new Jim Crow : mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness

Michelle Alexander

364.973 /Alexander
History

Overview: "As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them. " In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community - and all of us - to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Maeve's picture

Legal scholar Michelle Alexander, examines the legal structure of the courts, parole, probation and laws that effectively turn a perpetrator of a crime into a moral outlaw who is unworthy of rehabilitation -Maeve

The card catalog : books, cards, and literary treasures book cover

The card catalog : books, cards, and literary treasures

025.313 /Card
History

The Library of Congress brings booklovers an enriching tribute to the power of the written word and to the history of our most beloved books. Featuring more than 200 full-color images of original catalog cards, first edition book covers, and photographs from the library's magnificent archives, this collection is a visual celebration of the rarely seen treasures in one of the world's most famous libraries and the brilliant catalog system that has kept it organized for hundreds of years. Packed with engaging facts on literary classics--from Ulysses to The Cat in the Hat to Shakespeare's First Folio to The Catcher in the Rye--this package is an ode to the enduring magic and importance of books.

Maeve's picture

If you are a fan of the card catalog or libraries you will enjoy this beautiful book. -Maeve

The apparitionists : a tale of phantoms, fraud, photography, and the man who captured Lincoln's ghost book cover

The apparitionists : a tale of phantoms, fraud, photography, and the man who captured Lincoln's ghost

Peter Manseau

133.92 /Manseau
History

In the early days of photography, in the death-strewn wake of the Civil War, one man seized Americas imagination. A "spirit photographer," William Mumler took portrait photographs that featured the ghostly presence of a lost loved one alongside the living subject. Mumler was a sensation: The affluent and influential came calling. Peter Manseau brilliantly captures a nation wracked with grief and hungry for proof of the existence of ghosts and for contact with their dead husbands and sons.

Amanda's picture

This book was incredible. It read like a novel at times and was impeccably researched. The mystery at the heart of the book is really cool, and I learned a lot about a time in American history that isn't terribly well-known. American Spiritualism is fascinating, weird, and kind of creepy. This book is also deeply concerned with the origins and history of photography and will appeal to people who like mysteries, ghosts, photography, history, and even novels. -Amanda

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

The man from the train : the solving of a century-old serial killer mystery book cover

The man from the train : the solving of a century-old serial killer mystery

Bill James

364.1523 /James
True Crime, History

"Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station. When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these crimes, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the analytical acumen he brings to baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery. They learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal, and in turn, uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in American history. Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man From the Train is a groundbreaking approach to true crime that will convince skeptics, delight aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history"--

Candice's picture

Lots of people know about the axe-murders in Villisca, Iowa, but the crime has never been solved...until now? Bill James lays out all the evidence he's found for a serial killer operating at that time. -Candice

The devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America book cover

The devil in the white city : murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America

Erik Larson

364.1523 /Larson
Nonfiction, History, True Crime

"Larson's ambitious, engrossing tale of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 focuses primarily on two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect who was the driving force behind the fair, and Henry H. Holmes, a sadistic serial killer working under the cover of the busy fair. After the 1889 French Exposition Universel wowed the world with the Eiffel Tower and high attendance numbers, interest began to grow in the U.S. for a similar fair. Chicago and New York were the top contenders for the location, and in February 1890, Chicagoans were overjoyed to hear they had won the honor. Burnham and his partner, John Root, the leading architects in Chicago, were tapped for the job, and they in turn called on Frederick Law Olmstead, Louis Sullivan, and Richard M. Hunt to help them build the world's greatest fair. They faced overwhelming obstacles: inhospitable weather, bureaucracy, illness, and even death. Unbeknownst to any of them, Holmes, a charismatic, handsome doctor, had arrived in the city and built a complex with apartments, a drugstore, and a vault, which he used to trap his victims until they suffocated. When the White City opened for business in May 1893, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to it, although a plummeting economy and several accidents did nothing to help business. A shocking murder concludes the ultimately successful fair, and that's before Holmes claims his final victims in the cruelest act of his career. A magnificent book."--

Candice's picture

Erik Larson does an absolutely amazing job of telling the story of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who operated during the World's Fair in Chicago, 1896. Not only that, but this is a fantastic story of the city itself, particularly some of the early architects and their works. Will make you want to go visit some of the buildings. -Candice

The Triumph of Christianity : How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World book cover

The Triumph of Christianity : How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Bart D. Ehrman

270.1 /Ehrman
History, Religion

In The Triumph of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, a master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, shows how a religion whose first believers were twenty or so illiterate day laborers in a remote part of the empire became the official religion of Rome, converting some thirty million people in just four centuries. The Triumph of Christianity combines deep knowledge and meticulous research in an eye-opening, immensely readable narrative that upends the way we think about the single most important cultural transformation our world has ever seen - one that revolutionized art, music, literature, philosophy, ethics, economics, and law.

Candice's picture

For those nights where you find yourself wondering why the Christian belief system ended up eclipsing so many others. Full of fantastic history. -Candice

The Road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple book cover

The Road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Jeff Guinn

289.9 /Guinn
Biographies, History, Religion

A portrait of the cult leader behind the Jonestown Massacre examines his personal life, from his extramarital affairs and drug use to his fraudulent faith healing practices and his decision to move his followers to Guyana, sharing new details about the events leading to the 1978 tragedy.

Candice's picture

Guinn does a masterful job of drawing in the many elements of Jones' life that, in hindsight, all played some part in making him the person he came to be. I was surprised to find that, at the end of the book, some sort of sense was made of the awful situation. -Candice

Fire and fury : inside the Trump White House book cover

Fire and fury : inside the Trump White House

Michael Wolff

973.933 /Wolff
History

"The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous--and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office." --

Maeve's picture

I am deeply interested in the current political climate in the United States and while this might not be the best book ever written about a president, it has given me a working knowledge of who was who in the White House. -Maeve