History

The 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, meant to herald the twentieth century, went tragically, spectacularly, awry. In 1901, Buffalo, New York, the eighth biggest city in America, wanted to launch the new century with the Pan American Exposition. It would showcase the Western hemisphere and bring millions of people to western New York. With Niagara Falls as a drawing card and with stunning colors and electric lights, promoters believed it would be bigger, better, and--literally--more brilliant than Chicago's White City of 1893. Weaving together narratives of both notorious and forgotten figures, Margaret Creighton unveils the fair's big tragedy and its lesser-known scandals.

The age of daredevils by Michael Clarkson

By turns a family drama and an action-adventure story, The Age of Daredevils chronicles the lives of the men and women who devoted themselves to the extraordinary sport of jumping over Niagara Falls in a barrel--a death-defying gamble that proved a powerful temptation to a hardy few.

Willow Run by Randy Hotton

A thrilling Cold War narrative exploring two harrowing attempts to rescue East Germans by tunneling beneath the Berlin Wall, the U.S. television networks who financed and filmed them, and the Kennedy administration's unprecedented attempt to suppress both films.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month check out some of the biographies of notable First Americans from the Library's collection or go to this list for more information.

Tecumseh : a life by John Sugden
Sacajawea by Harold P Howard

From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America's greatest generals--and most misunderstood presidents In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the "Trinity of Great American Leaders." But the battlefield commander-turned-commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.  Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government's policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs . 

Also available in: e-book

We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages--of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity's most important--and universal--information technology.

"While working at the Newark Star-Ledger, Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall created a popular column debating the merits of then-current television. Eventually they went on to successful careers as critics elsewhere, but the debate raged on and now comes to an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Alan and Matt have established The Pantheon of top TV shows using a complex, obsessively all-encompassing ranking system by which to order and stack them up against each other. With a mix of lively entries on critically acclaimed and commercially successful classics such as Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Star Trek, The Simpsons and Twin Peaks and illuminating essays on short-lived favorites such as Taxi, Freaks and Geeks, and My So-Called Life, TV (THE BOOK) is sure to spark conversation and debate among readers. TV (THE BOOK) is a must-have for long-time television and film buffs and for young enthusiasts who, fresh off their latest Netflix binge, are looking to expand their knowledge of the medium and wondering what show to start streaming next"--.

This long-awaited biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master. Still known to millions only as the author of the The Lottery, Shirley Jackson  remains curiously absent from the American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author behind such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of the Cambridge Spies--Maclean, Philby, Blunt--brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers. In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess's chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service.

The key to understanding the calamitous Afghan war is the complex, ultimately failed relationship between the powerful, duplicitous Karzai family and the U.S.--brilliantly portrayed here in its entirety for the first time by the former Washington Post Kabul bureau chief.

The story of the brutal mass slaughter of Jews during World War II and how that genocide has been remembered and misremembered ever since. Taking issue with generations of scholars who separate the Holocaust from Germany's military ambitions, historian Jeremy M. Black demonstrates persuasively that Germany's war on the Allies was entwined with Hitler's war on Jews.

 

Hamilton’s America aired on PBS on October 21. A powerful musical, if you haven’t heard it you can borrow a copy of the broadway soundtrack on CD or stream it on Hoopla. You might find that the music inspires you to explore further into our early nation. If so, try some of these additional resources that span fact and fiction from throughout the library. This assorted list includes items from the children’s collection that might be of wide interest, followed by denser materials from the adult collection. Don't find yourself saying, "What'd I Miss?" 

Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown

Explains how political differences between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton escalated their Revolutionary War-era rivalry and culminated in the most famous duel in American history. The final line of this beautifully illustrated picture book should sing out to fans of the musical.

Also available in: e-audiobook | video | e-video

Sheds light on the fascinating life and interests of the Renaissance man who was our third president.

With rich illustrations and evocative narrative, McAuliffe portrays Paris during the fabulous 1920s, when art and architecture, music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and behavior all took dramatically new forms.

Longlisted for the National Book Award A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life -- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives--where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance--are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they're wrong. 

Also available in: e-book | audiobook

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra , the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister's daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic. As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff's account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Featuring a diverse group of writers, War No More gathers the best of America's vibrant tradition of antiwar and peace literature, essays, letters, speeches, memoirs, poems, stories and songs spanning almost three centuries. It offers an unprecedented view of a powerful and perennially relevant American tradition, encompassing five-star generals, theologians, nuclear physicists, folk singers, signers of the declaration, quietists, anarchists, veterans, and Nobel laureates.
 

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