Biography

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.

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.

 

If you're looking for a readable memoir, browse this list of suggestions for your next read.

Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | large print

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of?

This title can also be checked out in multiple copies for a book discussion.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz practiced denial, avoidance, and distraction. But after her elderly mother's encounter with a ladder, the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed. The themes here are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

Explore the lives of many artists. The books below are found in our children's collections, but may appeal to wider audiences. Find more artists and art in our collections: just ask any librarian.

Describes how Van Gogh's insomnia, possibly a symptom of mental or phyical illness, allowed him to view the night sky while everyone else was asleep and influenced how he saw the world around him.

A story inspired by the life of the influential French master artist considers how he transformed his dreary childhood community in northern France through his expressions of color and form.

Reporter : a memoir by Seymour M Hersh

A memoir of renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh's life as a reporter.

Bruce Lee : a life by Matthew Polly

This probing and perceptive biography reassesses the remarkable and tragic life of the third Kennedy son, Robert Francis Kennedy - a man who would almost certainly have been president if his violent assassination hadn't intervened. Features extensive interviews with family members, friends, journalists, Washington insiders, and civil rights activists. Profiles the pivotal roles RFK played in the many major events of the 1960's - the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement, and the war in Vietnam.

Nikola Tesla invented the radio, robots, and remote control. His electric induction motors run our appliances and factories, yet he has been largely overlooked by history. In this biography, the author presents a comprehensive portrait of this farsighted and underappreciated mastermind.

Robin by Dave Itzkoff

The most definitive biography to date of the poet Pablo Neruda, a moving portrait of one of the most intriguing and influential figures in Latin American history.

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 and humorist Peter Finley Dunne in the early 1900s, is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."  And in the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

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