History

Girl in black and white : the story of Mary Mildred Williams and the abolition movement book cover

Girl in black and white : the story of Mary Mildred Williams and the abolition movement

Jessie Morgan-Owens

973.00496 /Morgan-Owens
History, Nonfiction, Black History

"The riveting, little-known story of Mary Mildred Williams--a slave girl who looked 'white'--whose photograph transformed the abolitionist movement. When a decades-long court battle resulted in her family's freedom in 1855, seven-year-old Mary Mildred Williams unexpectedly became the face of American slavery. During a sold-out abolitionist lecture series, Senator Charles Sumner paraded Mary in front of rapt audiences as evidence that slavery knew no bounds. Weaving together long-overlooked primary sources and arresting images, including the daguerreotype that turned Mary into the poster child of a movement, Jessie Morgan-Owens investigates tangled generations of sexual enslavement and the fraught politics that led Mary to Sumner. She restores Mary's story to history and uncovers a dramatic narrative of travels along the Underground Railroad, relationships tested by oppression, and the struggles of life after emancipation. The result is an exposé of the thorny racial politics of the abolitionist movement and the pervasive colorism that dictated where white sympathy lay--one that sheds light on a shameful legacy that still affects us profoundly today"--

Melody's picture

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Dark sky rising : Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow book cover

Dark sky rising : Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow

Henry Louis Gates

973.00496 /Gates
History, Nonfiction, Black History

"This is a story about America and the shaping of its democratic values during the Reconstruction era, one of our country's most pivotal and misunderstood chapters. In this stirring account of the Civil War, emancipation, and the struggle for rights and reunion that followed, one of the premier US scholars delivers a book that is as illuminating as it is timely. Real-life accounts of heroism, grit, betrayal, and bravery drive this book's narrative, spanning America's history from 1861 to 1915 and drawing parallels with today. Topics include the destruction of slavery, the Reconstruction Amendments, and African American resilience in times of racial unrest. Notable figures cited throughout include Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Adams, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Jacobs, Charlotte Forten, W.E.B. Du Bois, and more. Here, you will come face-to-face with America's challenge to create a society in which black and white citizens could, after a violent civil war, find a lasting peace without new lines of inequality and separation being drawn. The people and events of that noble experiment, and its violent overthrow and eventual undermining in the Jim Crow era, are central to this story. In introducing them to young readers, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., shares a history that remains vitally relevant to the challenges of our own time."--Dust jacket.

Melody's picture

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Never caught, the story of Ona Judge : George and Martha Washington's courageous slave who dared to run away book cover

Never caught, the story of Ona Judge : George and Martha Washington's courageous slave who dared to run away

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

973.00496 /Dunbar
History, Nonfiction, Black History

"In this incredible narrative, Erica Armstrong Dunbar reveals a fascinating and heartbreaking behind-the-scenes look at the Washingtons' when they were the First Family--and an in-depth look at their slave, Ona Judge, who dared to escape from one of the nation's Founding Fathers. Born into a life of slavery, Ona Judge eventually grew up to be George and Martha Washington's "favored" dower slave. When she was told that she was going to be given as a wedding gift to Martha Washington's granddaughter, Ona made the bold and brave decision to flee to the north, where she would be a fugitive. From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, Erica Armstrong Dunbar (along with Kathleen Van Cleve), shares an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country."--

Melody's picture

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The Seine : the river that made Paris book cover

The Seine : the river that made Paris

Elaine Sciolino

944.36 /Sciolino
Nonfiction, Travel, History

"In the spring of 1978, as a young journalist in Paris, Elaine Sciolino was seduced by a river. In The Seine, she tells the story of that river through its rich history and lively characters-a bargewoman, a riverbank bookseller, a houseboat- dweller, a famous cinematographer known for capturing the river's light. She patrols with river police, rows with a restorer of antique boats, discovers a champagne vineyard, and even dares to swim in the Seine. Sciolino's keen eye and vivid prose bring the river to life as she discovers its origins on a remote plateau in Burgundy, where a pagan goddess healed pilgrims at an ancient temple. She follows the Seine to Le Havre, where it meets the sea. Braiding memoir, travelogue, and history through the Seine's winding route, Sciolino offers a love letter to Paris and the river at its heart and invites readers to explore its magic."--

Candice's picture

Elaine Sciolino also wrote the wonderful book "The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs" and I feel like she has perfected the blend of awe and love for place, history, anecdote, and commentary. She brings the Seine to life here, it is a character in the past, present, and future of Paris. Full of interesting tales about, and lovely descriptions of, everything and anything related to the great river--architecture, city-scapes, food, people, art, history...it's all here. -Candice

Iowa Confederates in the Civil War book cover

Iowa Confederates in the Civil War

David Connon

977.702 /Connon
Nonfiction, History

Melody's picture

Once in a while, we get an Iowa history book that disrupts what we always believed was true. Iowa Confederates in the Civil War does exactly this. Author David Connon chronicles 76 Iowans who headed south and signed up to fight against the Union. Listen to the River to River interview with the author here: https://www.iowapublicradio.org/post/new-research-shows-least-76-iowans-joined-confederacy-during-civil-war#stream/0 -Melody

Say nothing : a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland book cover

Say nothing : a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland

Patrick Radden Keefe

941.60824 /Keefe
True Crime, History

"From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions. In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as the Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the IRA was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the garments--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children but also IRA members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war but simple murders. From radical and impetuous IRA terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious IRA mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his IRA past--[this book] conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish."--Dust jacket.

Mari's picture

This is a true crime story about a mother of ten's disappearance during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, almost three decades in of turmoil between Catholics and Protestants while the IRA recruited young people to plant bombs and carry out murders. While this mystery operates as a frame work, I would say it's more of a modern telling of the history of violence, albeit a chilling nonfiction narrative. There were almost too many characters to keep track of, but I found the story of Dolours Price and her sister Marian to be fascinating. Both were arrested for the car bombing of the Old Bailey in London in the 70's and spent years in prison on hunger strike until they were allowed to finish their prison sentence in Northern Ireland. This story makes you question if there is a difference between political violence and crime. -Mari

1776 book cover

1776

David G McCullough

973.3 /McCullough
Nonfiction, History

In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. Written as a companion work to his celebrated biography of John Adams, David McCullough’s 1776 is another landmark in the literature of American history.

Beth's picture

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Ballpark : baseball in the American city book cover

Ballpark : baseball in the American city

Paul Goldberger

796.35709 /Goldberger
Nonfiction, History, Sports

"An exhilarating, splendidly illustrated, entirely new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks where the game was and is staged, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic. From the earliest corrals of the mid-1800s (Union Grounds in Brooklyn was a 'saloon in the open air'), to the much mourned parks of the early 1900s (Detroit's Tiger Stadium, Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans), to the stadiums we fill today, Paul Goldberger makes clear the inextricable bond between the American city and America's favorite pastime. In the changing locations and architecture of our ballparks, Goldberger reveals the manifestations of a changing society: the earliest ballparks evoked the Victorian age in their accommodations--bleachers for the riffraff, grandstands for the middle-class; the 'concrete donuts' of the 1950s and 60s made plain television's grip on the public's attention; and more recent ballparks, like Baltimore's Camden Yards, signal a new way forward for stadium design and for baseball's role in urban development. Throughout, Goldberger shows us the way in which baseball's history is concurrent with our cultural history: the rise of urban parks and public transportation; the development of new building materials and engineering and design skills. And how the site details and the requirements of the game--the diamond, the outfields, the walls, the grandstands--shaped our most beloved ballparks. A fascinating, exuberant ode to the Edens at the heart of our cities--where dreams are as limitless as the outfields"--

Anne M's picture

This is more of an architectural history book than a sports book. Goldberger focuses on the relationship between the major league ballpark and the city it serves, discussing the different trends of stadium architectural history. This is more than just for baseball fans. If you are interested in urban development and renewal, I highly recommend it. -Anne M

The undefeated book cover

The undefeated

Kwame Alexander

jE Alexander
Kids, History

"The Newbery Award-winning author of The Crossover pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree"--

Casey's picture

Added by Casey

The trial of Lizzie Borden : a true story book cover

The trial of Lizzie Borden : a true story

Cara Robertson

364.1523 /Robertson
History, True Crime

"The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology--the trial of Lizzie Borden--based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence. The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple's younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone--rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople--had an opinion about Lizzie Borden's guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn't she? The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden's culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties"--

Anne M's picture

Lizzie Borden was always condemned in my mind for the murder of her father and stepmother because there was a playground rhyme about it. And I've always wondered if there is a rhyme that seems so true, why was Lizzie Borden acquitted? Cara Robertson dives right into this very question by looking at what happened during her trial. What were the arguments from the prosecution and how did the defense answer to those charges? It is actually pretty fascinating and I came away with more questions than answers. **Please be advised that there are pictures of the crime scene. And it was done by an axe.** -Anne M