Nonfiction

Nonfiction Book Group September 2018

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Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

The Spanish flu of 1918-1920 was one of the greatest human disasters of all time. It infected a third of the people on Earth--from the poorest immigrants of New York City to the king of Spain, Franz Kafka, Mahatma Gandhi and Woodrow Wilson. But despite a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people, it exists in our memory as an afterthought to World War I. In this gripping narrative history, Laura Spinney traces the overlooked pandemic to reveal how the virus travelled across the globe, exposing mankind's vulnerability and putting our ingenuity to the test.

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From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Mimi Matthews shares some of the quirkiest and most poignant animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meet Fortune, the Pug who bit Napoleon on his wedding night, and Looty, the Pekingese sleeve dog who was presented to Queen Victoria after the 1860 sacking of the Summer Palace in Peking. The four-legged friends of Lord Byron, Emily Bront , and Prince Albert also make an appearance, as do the treasured pets of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens. Less famous, but no less fascinating, are the animals that were the subject of historical lawsuits, scandals, and public curiosity.

From the heroic pediatrician who rallied a community and brought the fight for justice to national attention comes a powerful firsthand account of the Flint water crisis--a dramatic story of failed democracy and inspiring citizen advocacy and action. In the heart of the world's wealthiest nation, one hundred thousand people were poisoned by the water supply for two years--with the knowing complicity of their government. Written by the crusading pediatrician who helped turn the crisis into a transformative movement for change, What the Eyes Don't See is a devastating insider chronicle of the Flint water crisis.

Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn

Witty, inspiring, and charismatic, Oscar Wilde is one of the Greats of English literature. Today, his plays and stories are beloved around the world. But it was not always so. His afterlife has given him the legitimacy that life denied him. Making Oscar Wilde reveals the untold story of young Oscar's career in Victorian England and post-Civil War America. Set on two continents, it tracks a larger-than-life hero on an unforgettable adventure to make his name and gain international acclaim.

Boston's massacre by Eric Hinderaker

On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston's Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.

July 1, 1867. The Constitution Act, 1867 is enacted,  uniting the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.

The Constitution : an introduction by Michael Stokes Paulsen

July 2, 1788. The United States Constitution was ratified.

July 2, 1881. President James A. Garfield was shot as he entered a railway station in Washington, D.C. He died on September 19.

The personal stories of three Japanese-American resistors--Gorden Hirabayashi, Fred Korematsu, and Minoru Yasui--who defied the government order of the WWII Wartime Relocation Act, resulting in their conviction and imprisonment.

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