History

"Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less."   ~ Myra Pollack Sadker.  March is National Women's History Month.    History helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished.  Throughout the centuries, women have been strong contributors to our world, but  received no written recognition for their accomplishments.  

West with the Night by Beryl Markham
Also available in: e-audiobook

"West with the Night" is the story of Beryl Markham--aviator, racehorse trainer, beauty--and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and '30s.  During the pioneer days of aviation, she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

Also available in: e-book

A lively and provocative double biography of first cousins Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, two extraordinary women whose tangled lives provide a sweeping look at the twentieth century. When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, his beautiful and flamboyant daughter was transformed into "Princess Alice," arguably the century's first global celebrity. Thirty-two years later, her first cousin Eleanor moved into the White House as First Lady. Born eight months and twenty blocks apart from each other in New York City, Eleanor and Alice spent a large part of their childhoods together and were far more alike than most historians acknowledge. But their politics and temperaments couldn't have been more distinct. Do-gooder Eleanor was committed to social justice but hated the limelight; acid-tongued Alice, who became the wife of philandering Republican congressman Nicholas Longworth, was an opponent of big government who gained notoriety for her cutting remarks (she famously quipped that dour President Coolidge "looked like he was weaned on a pickle"). While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics, including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office. 

Also available in: e-audiobook

"The life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger--the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth. Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Join us Saturday, March 19 at 10 AM.

There are a number of books that deal with similar stories or events in history that have been adapted for younger audiences. Several other topics are covered by multiple ages for multiple age ranges. Pick one of these for yourself and one for your child, and discuss aspects of history as a family.

 

 

Extraordinary Zoo Stories During WWII

When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw-- and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.

More Documentaries for Black History Month

The abolitionists [videodisc] by written, directed, and produced by Rob Rapley

 

 

Citizen King [videodisc] by a ROJA Productions film for American experience ; in association with the BBC and WGBH Boston

 

 

 

 

The fight [videodisc] by produced by Barak Goodman

 

 

 

 

Jesse Owens [videodisc] by a Firelight Films production for American Experience in association with WDR ; produced and directed by Laurens Grant ; written and produced by Stanley Nelson

 

 

 

 

Letters from Jackie [videodisc]: the private thoughts of Jackie Robinson by MLB Productions

 

 

 

 

More non-fiction than fiction, but often a well-written biography or history can be as exciting a read as a good suspense novel.

"The life and times of the wealthiest man who ever lived--Jacob Fugger--the Renaissance banker who revolutionized the art of making money and established the radical idea of pursuing wealth for its own sake. Jacob Fugger lived in Germany at the turn of the sixteenth century, the grandson of a peasant. By the time he died, his fortune amounted to nearly two percent of European GDP. Not even John D. Rockefeller had that kind of wealth. Most people become rich by spotting opportunities, pioneering new technologies, or besting opponents in negotiations. Fugger did all that, but he had an extra quality that allowed him to rise even higher: nerve. In an era when kings had unlimited power, Fugger had the nerve to stare down heads of state and ask them to pay back their loans--with interest. It was this coolness and self-assurance, along with his inexhaustible ambition, that made him not only the richest man ever, but a force of history as well. Before Fugger came along it was illegal under church law to charge interest on loans, but he got the Pope to change that. He also helped trigger the Reformation and likely funded Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe. His creation of a news service, which gave him an information edge over his rivals and customers, earned Fugger a footnote in the history of journalism. And he took Austria's Habsburg family from being second-tier sovereigns to rulers of the first empire where the sun never set. The ultimate untold story, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived is more than a tale about the richest and most influential businessman of all time. It is a story about palace intrigue, knights in battle, family tragedy and triumph, and a violent clash between the 1 percent and everybody else. To understand our financial system and how we got it, it pays to understand Jacob Fugger"--.

NYPD Detective Claire Codella has just won a tough battle with cancer. Now she has to regain her rightful place on the force. she hasn't even been back a day when Hector Sanchez, a maverick public school principal, is found murdered. The school is on high alert. The media is howling for answers. And Codella catches the high-profile case at the worst possible time. As she races to track down the killer, she uncovers dirty politics, questionable contracts, and dark secrets. Each discovery she makes brings her closer to the truth, but the truth may cost Codella her life.

Documentaries for Black History Month

American Experience: The Abolitionists by Artist Not Provided — Men and women, black and white, Northerners and Southerners, poor and wealthy, these passionate anti-slavery activists fought  in the most important civil rights crusade in American history. Part of the PBS series American Experience.

 

 

Africans in America [videodisc]: America's journey through slavery by produced for PBS by WGBH Boston — The story of slavery's birth in the early 1660s through the onset of thr Civil War. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett.

 

 

 

 

4 little girls [videodisc] by an HBO documentary film in association with 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; a Spike Lee Joint — When a bomb tore through the basement of a black Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963, it took the lives of four young girls. This powerful documentary captures a time, a place, and a way of life that would be forever altered by their deaths. Directed by Spike Lee.

 

 

Biographies for Black History Month

The butler: a witness to history by Wil Haygood

 

 

The rebellious life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis

 

 

 

Crusader for justice: federal judge Damon J. Keith by compiled, written, and edited by Peter J. Hammer and Trevor W. Coleman ; forward by Mitch Albom

 

 

 

Dave Bing: a life of challenge by Drew Sharp

 

 

 

A gentleman of color: the life of James Forten by Julie Winch

 

 

 

Also available in: audiobook | large print

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game. Join us on Saturday, February 20 at 10:00 AM.

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