History

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

The best we could do : an illustrated memoir book cover

The best we could do : an illustrated memoir

Thi Bui

BIOGRAPHY Bui, Thi
Graphic Novels, Memoir, Biographies, History

The author describes her experiences as a young Vietnamese immigrant, highlighting her family's move from their war-torn home to the United States in graphic novel format.

Casey's picture

Combining genealogy, auto-biography, history and graphic novel, Thi Bui's memoir is haunting and beautiful. -Casey

Cathedrals built by the Masons book cover

Cathedrals built by the Masons

Russell Herner

726.6 /Herner
History, Travel

"Through well-researched text, as well as drawings and color photography, this book captures the magnificence of European cathedrals and the brilliance of the Master Builders and craftsmen who designed and built them. Cathedral building is a fusion of man's greatest accomplishments in the arts, sciences, and humanities over the centuries. More than 250 photos and drawings capture the quality and craftsmanship built into these stunning structures created to replicate God's house or heaven on Earth. Color photos illustrate the gorgeous naves, detailed fan vaulted ceilings, beautiful stained-glass windows, flying buttresses, and 650-year-old parchment drawings of the cathedrals. Discover the origin of Gothic architecture, see how Gothic cathedrals were built using primitive tools, and learn about the development of Freemasonry and its direct descent from the stonemasons of the Middle Ages. Enjoy 30 cathedral tours and acquire a few Masonic secrets of the stonemasons."--Publisher's description.

Heidi L's picture

Great photos throughout, but what sets this book apart is the information about the building process and photographs of tools used in the construction of a cathedral. -Heidi L

Walking England's cathedral cities : twenty-eight original walks and tours around the cathedrals and cathedral cities of England book cover

Walking England's cathedral cities : twenty-eight original walks and tours around the cathedrals and cathedral cities of England

Rowland Mead

914.204 /Mead/2000
History, Travel

Heidi L's picture

While this is an older guidebook, it gives a sense of the areas surrounding fourteen cathedrals with walking tours highlighting interesting stops in the neighborhood. The book also contains detailed information for touring the interiors of the cathedrals. -Heidi L

England's cathedrals book cover

England's cathedrals

Simon Jenkins

726.60942/Jenkins
History, Travel

England's cathedrals are the nation's glory. They tower over its landscape, outranking palaces, castles and mansions. They attract roughly half the nation's population each year. For a millennium they have been objects of pilgrimage for those seeking faith, consolation and beauty. Still at the start of the twenty-first century, they remain unequalled in their size and splendour. More than any other English institution, cathedrals reflect the vicissitudes of history and should be treasured as such. They are custodians of culture and of the rituals of civic life. They offer welfare and relieve suffering. They uplift spirits with their beauty. In a real sense they are still what they were when first built a millennium ago, a glimpse of the sublime. Gloriously illustrated throughout, this book takes us on an enthralling tour of the nation and its history, through some of our most astonishing buildings.

Heidi L's picture

Vibrant color photographs of exteriors and select interior features of more than fifty cathedrals. The author's short but useful descriptions don't hold back on praise and censure when discussing restoration efforts or modifications to the structures. -Heidi L

The life and the adventures of a haunted convict book cover

The life and the adventures of a haunted convict

Austin Reed

BIOGRAPHY Reed, Austin
History

The earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer—recently discovered and authenticated by a team of Yale scholars—sheds light on the longstanding connection between race and incarceration in America. In 2009, scholars at Yale University came across a startling manuscript: the memoir of Austin Reed, a free black man born in the 1820s who spent most of his early life ricocheting between forced labor in prison and forced labor as an indentured servant. Lost for more than one hundred and fifty years, the handwritten document is the first known prison memoir written by an African American. Corroborated by prison records and other documentary sources, Reed’s text gives a gripping first-person account of an antebellum Northern life lived outside slavery that nonetheless bore, in its day-to-day details, unsettling resemblances to that very institution. Now, for the first time, we can hear Austin Reed’s story as he meant to tell it.

Melody's picture

This book is a remarkable find. Perfect for history buffs, rare manuscript nerds, and African American prison researchers, this book was written by an African American man born free in the 1820s but living much of his life in confinement. Reed was a natural storyteller and his memoir reads like a novel. He documents his experiences both in prison and as a free man, the cruelties of the whip and other 19th Century torture tactics as well as adventures and opportunities he encountered while living free. -Melody

Leonardo da Vinci book cover

Leonardo da Vinci

Walter Isaacson

BIOGRAPHY Leonardo
Biographies, History, Nonfiction

Acclaimed biographer Isaacson (Steve Jobs; The Innovators) delves into the 15th and 16th centuries to examine the insatiable energy of Leonardo da Vinci (1452â€"1519). Primarily relying on da Vinci's notebooks (more than 7,200 pages) for his research, as they help to understand da Vinci as a person, the author argues early and often that his subject was not the most brilliant man who ever lived, simply the most curious one. For example, in his journals, da Vinci reminds himself to "describe the tongue of the woodpecker." The illegitimate son of a wealthy notary in Vinci, a town outside Florence, Italy, da Vinci had a fascination with science and art from a young age. This melding of subjects was a main component of Renaissance life. This book examines da Vinci's birth, young adulthood, sexuality, works (e.g., The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa), and contemporaries such as Michelangelo and Cesare Borgia (on whom Machiavelli's The Prince was based). Lastly, Isaacson explores the polymath's enduring impact.

Candice's picture

A thorough and illuminating look at the consummate Renaissance genius. There are many biographies about Leonardo, and books that are about the things he did, but this one goes deep and gives an amazing amount of insight into how and what he thought, and the events that shaped him -Candice

One summer : America, 1927 book cover

One summer : America, 1927

Bill Bryson

973.91 /Bryson
Nonfiction, History

Bryson examines closely the events and personalities of the summer of 1927 when America's story was one of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy.

Anne M's picture

What it must have been like to read the newspaper everyday this summer! This is a fascinating read and you can tell that Bryson had a great time researching this book. -Anne M