Books for the History Buff

Our Concord neighbor Doris Kearns Goodwin has a new title – The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.  “

The gap between rich and poor has never been wider . . . legislative stalemate paralyzes the country . . . corporations resist federal regulations . . . spectacular mergers produce giant companies . . . the influence of money in politics deepens . . . bombs explode in crowded streets . . . small wars proliferate far from our shores . . . a dizzying array of inventions speeds the pace of daily life.

These unnervingly familiar headlines serve as the backdrop for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit—a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.”

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Bill Bryson uses his superb storytelling skills in One Summer to explore the summer of 1927 – when Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth was beginning his home run record, Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business and the first “talking picture” was made – among other things that transpired in that epochal summer.   

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The Men Who United the States by Simon Winchester is subtitled America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks and the Creation of our Nation, Indivisible.  How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? Simon Winchester addresses these questions, bringing together the breathtaking achievements of those American pioneers who helped, with their multitudes of callings, to forge and unify the new nation, and who toiled fearlessly to discover, connect, and bond the citizens and the geography of the United States from its very beginnings.

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Vanished by Wil S. Hylton explores the story of an American bomber carrying eleven men that vanished over the Pacific islands of Palau, leaving a trail of mysteries.  

For sixty years, the U.S. government, the children of the missing airmen, and a maverick team of scientists and scuba divers searched the islands for clues. They trolled the water with side-scan sonar, conducted grid searches on the seafloor, crawled through thickets of mangrove and poison trees, and flew over the islands in small planes to shoot infrared photography. With every clue they found, the mystery only deepened.

Now, in a spellbinding narrative, Wil S. Hylton weaves together the true story of the missing men, their final mission, the families they left behind, and the real reason their disappearance remained shrouded in secrecy for so long.

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The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance  by Edmund de Waal  – 

Two hundred and sixty-four Japanese wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great-uncle Iggie’s Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the netsuke, they unlocked a far more dramatic story than he could ever have imagined.

From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siècle Paris, from occupied Vienna to postwar Tokyo, de Waal traces the netsuke’s journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. With sumptuous photographs of the netsuke collection and full-color images from de Waal’s family archive, the illustrated edition of The Hare with Amber Eyes transforms a deeply intimate saga into a work of visual art.

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One thought on “Books for the History Buff

  1. Don’t know when a group of non-fiction has enticed me so much! Really a treasure of good reading for this (usually) fiction fan! Thanks for the recommendations.
    Greta Friel

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