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Historical "What Ifs"

What if the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day had failed? The Mayflower had not sailed? The Mongols had succeeded in conquering Europe? JFK hadn't been assassinated? Napoleon had invaded North America? The South had won the Civil War? Go back in time and reimagine history as it might have been with the following fascinating titles:

Almost America: from the colonists to Clinton: a 'what if' history of the U.S. by Steve Tally

Almost history: close calls, plan B's, and twists of fate in American history by Roger Bruns

The Confederate States of America: what might have been by Roger L. Ransom

Days of destiny: crossroads in American history: America's greatest historians examine thirty-one uncelebrated days that changed the course of history by general editors, James M. McPherson, Alan Brinkley; editor, David Rubel

25 Time Travel Movies

Back to the future [videodisc]: the complete trilogy by Universal and Amblin Entertainment — StarringMichael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd. Marty McFly is transported back to 1955 where he must bring his parents together so that he will exist when he gets back to his own time.

Bill & Ted's excellent adventure [videodisc] by an Orion Pictures release; Nelson Entertainment presents an Interscope Communications production; in association with Soisson/Murphey Productions — Starring Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter. Two high school students facing a difficult history exam round up some historical heavyweights with the help of a time-traveling messenger.

Brother Future [videodisc] by Laneuville/Morris Entertainment Inc. Production — Starring Phill Lewis, Carl Lumbly. An inner-city youth is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find he has been transported back through time to 1822 Charleston, S.C., where he is taken captive as a slave.

What Day was That?

Travel back in time and learn about some of the most memorable days in world history:

America's jubilee by Andrew Burstein — July 4, 1826

D-Day, June 6, 1944: the climactic battle of World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose — June 6, 1944

The day Kennedy was shot by Jim Bishop — November 22, 1963

The day Lincoln was shot by Jim Bishop — April 14, 1865

Day of infamy by Walter Lord — December 7, 1941

The day the American Revolution began: 19 April 1775 by William H. Hallahan — April 19, 1775

The day the war ended: May 8, 1945—victory in Europe by Martin Gilbert — May 8, 1945

Presidential Time Travel

Travel back through America's history and learn more about America's 44 presidents and their families:

America's first families: an inside view of 200 years of private life in the White House by Carl Sferrazza Anthony

Dear First Lady: letters to the White House by [compiled and edited] by Dwight Young and Margaret Johnson; foreword by Helen Thomas

First fathers: the men who inspired our Presidents by Harold I. Gullan

First ladies: from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Betty Boyd Caroli

First mothers: the women who shaped the presidents by Bonnie Angelo

A funny thing happened on the way to the White House: humor, blunders, and other oddities from the presidential campaign trail by edited and with an introduction by Charles Osgood

Diamond Jubilee

England's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year, commemorating 60 years on the British throne. Her reign is the second longest for a British monarch after Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years and 7 months. Princess Elizabeth was crowned on June 2, 1953 at Westminster Abbey after the death of her father George VI. Although she had been proclaimed queen when her father died in February, 1952, the official ceremony was not held until after a period of mourning for the late king.

Two New Historical Dramas Debut

Fans of historical dramas will have two new productions to choose from on Monday, May 28. HBO is debuting Hemingway & Gellhorn at 9:00 PM and the History Channel will present its miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, also at 9:00 PM. Hemingway & Gellhorn stars Clive Owen as the author, and Nicole Kidman as the legendary foreign correspondent who became Hemingway's third wife. Considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century, Gellhorn reported on virtually every major conflict during her 60 year career, including the Vietnam War. Hatfields & McCoys stars Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy, two members of the families involved in the long running feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky.

Robin Gibb 1949-2012

Robin Gibb, one of the three brothers who comprised the rock group the Bee Gees has passed away at the age of 62. Born in England, his family emigrated to Australia in 1958 where Robin and his brothers Maurice and Barry, began performing as the Brothers Gibb. They returned to England in 1966 as the Bee Gees, and in 1967 released their first recording there — the surreal "New York Mining Disaster 1941" — which became a hit both in England and America. Hits such as "Holiday," "To Love Somebody," "I Started a Joke," and "Massachusetts" soon followed. However it was the release of the soundtrack to the smash hit movie Saturday Night Fever that really cemented their fame.

Donna Summer 1948-2012

Donna Summer - Ordinary Girl book cover"Disco Queen" Donna Summer has passed away at the age of 63. She rose to fame during the mid-1970's disco trend with such hits as "Bad Girls," "Last Dance," "She Works hard for the Money," "Hot Stuff," and "Love to Love you Baby."

Crayons [sound recording] by Donna Summer

History of Journalism

May 3 has been designated as World Press Freedom Day in recognition of a "free, pluralistic and independent press" and its essential part of a democratic society. Indeed, the purpose of journalism, said Chicago newspaper columnist Peter Finley Dunne in the early 1900s, is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Although modern journalists have often been the targets of severe criticism, it is also true that throughout the centuries, and even today, journalism has been a force for making America a better place to live.

Joan of Arc

The 600th year celebration of the birth of Joan of Arc is being celebrated in 2012. Born in France in 1412, she is considered a national heroine and one of the country's patron saints. Nicknamed the "Maid of Orleans", she was a peasant girl who claimed divine guidance when leading the French army to several significant victories during the Hundred Year's War. Captured by the enemy, she was tried for heresy and burned at the stake when she was only 19. Twenty five years later the pope cleared her name and declared her a martyr. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

Joan of Arc: a Penguin life by Mary Gordon

Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, Part 2

Look for these films based on popular books in your local theater in the coming months:

Anna Karenina: a novel in eight parts by Leo Tolstoy — Starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law. Release date: September 2012.

Chicken with plums by Marjane Satrapi — Starring Mathieu Amalric and Eduouard Baer. Release date: August 2012.

Easy money by Jens Lapidus — Starring Joel Kinnaman and Dragomir Mrsic. Release date: July 2012.

Green Reading for Earth Week

The theme for Earth Day 2012 is Mobilize the Earth. Try some of the following titles from the Library's collection to help you get started!

Attracting birds, butterflies and other backyard wildlife by David Mizejewski

Backyard wildlife: how to attract bees, butterflies, insects, birds, frogs and animals into your garden by Christine and Michael Lavelle

Bats by M. Brock Fenton