History

Origin : a genetic history of the Americas book cover

Origin : a genetic history of the Americas

Jennifer Raff

576.5 /Raff
Nonfiction, History, Science

20,000 years ago, people crossed a great land bridge from Siberia into Western Alaska and then dispersed southward into what is now called the Americas. Until we venture out to other worlds, this remains the last time our species has populated an entirely new place, and this event has been a subject of deep fascination and controversy. No written records--and scant archaeological evidence--exist to tell us what happened or how it took place. Many different models have been proposed to explain how the Americas were peopled and what happened in the thousands of years that followed. A study of both past and present, ORIGIN explores how genetics is currently being used to construct narratives that profoundly impact Indigenous peoples of the Americas. It serves as a primer for anyone interested in how genetics has become entangled with identity in the way that society addresses the question "Who is indigenous?"

Candice's picture

This is a great read for anyone interested in the history and archaeology of the Americas, and the theories and existing evidence of the first people to live there. It's a much-needed update and refresher on the topic! This book has a lot of detail, but is presented in a way that makes it eminently readable and highly entertaining. -Candice

Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies book cover

Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies

Laura Thompson

OverDrive Audiobook
History

Heiresses: surely they are among the luckiest women on earth. Are they not to be envied, with their private jets and Chanel wardrobes and endless funds? Yet all too often those gilded lives have been beset with trauma and despair. Before the 20th century a wife's inheritance was the property of her husband, making her vulnerable to kidnap, forced marriages, even confinement in an asylum. And in modern times, heiresses fell victim to fortune-hunters who squandered their millions. Heiresses tells the stories of these women: Mary Davies, who inherited London's most valuable real estate, and was bartered from the age of twelve; Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American "Dollar Heiress", forced into a loveless marriage; Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress who married seven times and died almost penniless; Patty Hearst, heiress to a newspaper fortune who was arrested for terrorism. However, there are also stories of achievement: Angela Burdett-Coutts, who became one of the greatest philanthropists of Victorian England; Nancy Cunard, who lived off her mother's fortune and became a pioneer of the civil rights movement; Daisy Fellowes, elegant linchpin of interwar high society and noted fashion editor. Heiresses is about the lives of the rich, who—as F. Scott Fitzgerald said—are 'different'. But it is also a bigger story about how all women fought their way to equality, and sometimes even found autonomy and fulfillment.

Anne M's picture

Unlike many books about this topic that are more gossipy, Thompson really looks at the social issues and the power (or complete lack of power) woman had over their own money in England and Europe. From the time of Henry VIII to the 20th Century, Thompson examines individual women from Mary Davies to Jennie Churchill to Barbara Hutton and how different laws, social pressure, and culture impacted their experiences as heirs to large fortunes. It is a pretty engaging, interesting read. And this is one of those audiobooks where the author's voice is truly magnetic. You can tell she loved researching and writing this book. -Anne M

The dressmakers of Auschwitz : the true story of the women who sewed to survive book cover

The dressmakers of Auschwitz : the true story of the women who sewed to survive

Lucy Adlington

940.5318 /Adlington
History

Drawing on a vast array of sources, including interviews with the last surviving seamstress, this powerful book tells the story of the brave women who used their sewing skills to survive the Holocaust, exposing the greed, cruelty and hypocrisy of the Third Reich.

Amanda's picture

This was a beautiful and heartbreaking read about an aspect of the Holocaust I was not aware of. It was inspiring to read about what these women did to survive and help each other and all they encountered. -Amanda

Women in white coats : how the first women doctors changed the world of medicine book cover

Women in white coats : how the first women doctors changed the world of medicine

Olivia M. Campbell

610.922 /Campbell
Nonfiction, History, Science

Documents the true stories of three pioneering women who defied Victorian-era boundaries to become the first women doctors, discussing how they banded together to support each other and advocate for women's health in a male-dominated field.

Angie's picture

For fans of Hidden Figures and Radium Girls comes the remarkable story of three Victorian women who broke down barriers in the medical field to become the first women doctors, revolutionizing the way women receive health care. With gripping storytelling based on extensive research and access to archival documents, Women in White Coats tells the courageous history these women made by becoming doctors, detailing the boundaries they broke of gender and science to reshape how we receive medical care today. -Angie

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem book cover

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem

Rosalyn

133.4309/Schanzer
Religion, History

"Tackling the same twisted subject as Stacy Schiff's much-lauded book The Witches: Salem, 1692, this Sibert Honor book for young readers features unique scratchboard illustrations, chilling primary source material, and powerful narrative to tell the true tale.In the little colonial town of Salem Village, Massachusetts" (From Amazon)

Mykle's picture

A historical account with just the right amount of flavorful text and illustrations to keep it interesting. A humbling look at what superstition and zeal can do to people when it's not tempered with reason. -Mykle

The woman they could not silence : one woman, her incredible fight for freedom, and the men who tried to make her disappear book cover

The woman they could not silence : one woman, her incredible fight for freedom, and the men who tried to make her disappear

Kate (Writer and editor) Moore

BIOGRAPHY Packard, E. P. W.
History

"1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Threatened by Elizabeth's intellect, independence, and outspokenness, her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her and makes a plan to put her back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum. The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line--conveniently labeled "crazy" so their voices are ignored. No one is willing to fight for their freedom, and disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose..."--

Anne M's picture

This incredible work of nonfiction reads like a fast-past melodrama. -Anne M

Let's get physical : how women discovered exercise and reshaped the world book cover

Let's get physical : how women discovered exercise and reshaped the world

Danielle Friedman

613.7045 /Friedman
History, Sports

"A captivating blend of reportage and personal narrative that explores the untold history of women's exercise culture--from jogging and Jazzercise to Jane Fonda--and how women have parlayed physical strength into other forms of power"--

Amanda's picture

This is a super enjoyable and informative read about the history of women's fitness and so many of the players who started the programs and clothes and mindsets we have today. I couldn't put it down! -Amanda

The rape of Nanking : the forgotten holocaust of World War II book cover

The rape of Nanking : the forgotten holocaust of World War II

Iris Chang

951.042 /Chang
History

In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written the definitive history of this horrifying episode.

Fang's picture

Iris Chang will be remembered forever for her in-depth documentation of this horrifying episode during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Why couldn’t we forget the history? because “those who failed to learn from history are condemned to repeat it’. -Fang

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure book cover

Plunder : a memoir of family property and Nazi treasure

Menachem Kaiser

940.5318 /Kaiser
Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction, History, Religion, Political

When Kaiser takes up his Holocaust-survivor grandfather's former battle to reclaim the family's apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland, he finds himself on a circuitous path to encounters with the long-time residents of the building, and with a Polish lawyer known as "The Killer." A surprise discovery-- that his grandfather's cousin not only survived the war, but wrote a secret memoir while a slave laborer in a vast, secret Nazi tunnel complex-- leads to Kaiser being adopted as a virtual celebrity by a band of Silesian treasure seekers who revere the memoir as the indispensable guidebook to Nazi plunder. Here Kaiser questions: What does it mean to seize your own legacy? Can reclaimed property repair rifts among the living? -- adapted from jacket

Candice's picture

First, this book is beautifully written. Menachem Kaiser's grasp of language to tell a story, illustrate situations, and convey thoughts and emotions is so fluid and engaging. Second, this book is important in many ways, but also very interesting--a real nonfiction win-win. It's a slightly winding story, starting out with particular goals and desired outcomes, but as so often happens when researching and interacting history, the modern world and reality intervene, and make things a lot harder to get hold of and follow. Menachem goes where the story leads him, and the results are so strange, interesting, and profound that you couldn't have imagined some of it. This story is also full of love and learning and respect--for self, for others, for history, and for the stories that survive. -Candice

The secret history of home economics : how trailblazing women harnessed the power of home and changed the way we live book cover

The secret history of home economics : how trailblazing women harnessed the power of home and changed the way we live

Danielle Dreilinger

640.922 /Dreilinger
History, Technology

"The surprising, often fiercely feminist, always fascinating, yet barely known, history of home economics. The term "home economics" may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken cakes. But obscured by common conception is the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and businesspeople that were otherwise foreclosed. In The Secret History of Home Economics, Danielle Dreilinger traces the field's history from small farms to the White House, from Victorian suffragists to Palo Alto techies. Home economics followed the currents of American culture even as it shaped them; Dreilinger brings forward the racism within the movement along with the strides taken by Black women who were influential leaders and innovators. She also looks at the personal lives of home economics' women, as they chose being single, shared lives with women, or tried for egalitarian marriages. This groundbreaking and engaging history restores a maligned subject to its rightful importance"--

Amanda's picture

I had no idea the field of home economics was so progressive and wide-reaching! I kept having to stop to share a fun piece of trivia I just learned. You'll recognize a lot of the influence today from the women of decades past. -Amanda