History

Our world was made on and by the Silk Roads. For millennia it was here that East and West encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas and cultures, the birth of the world's great religions, the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the growth of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols and the Black Death to the Great Game and the fall of Communism, the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. The Silk Roads vividly captures the importance of the networks that crisscrossed the spine of Asia and linked the Atlantic with the Pacific, the Mediterranean with India, America with the Persian Gulf.

Erin go Bragh!

Biographies for St. Patrick's Day:
 

St. Patrick of Ireland: a biography by Philip Freeman

 

 

Damned to fame: the life of Samuel Beckett by James Knowlson

 

 

 

 

Michael Collins: a life by James Mackay

 

 

 

 

Yeats's ghosts: the secret life of W.B. Yeats by Brenda Maddox

 

 

 

 

Loitering with intent: The child by Peter O'Toole

 

 

 

 

The story of Temple Grandin, an autistic young woman who became a great success story in the field of livestock science.

Film adaptation of the musical play which is the story of the poor Argentine girl who came to the city, became an actress and then a politician's mistress, and then the president's wife.

Dramatization of the life of Joan of Arc centering on her trial and execution.

International Women's Day is a worldwide celebration created in the nineteen-teens to recognize the equal rights of women specifically in labor and suffrage. Today, this celebration takes many forms in different countries. In honor of this day which also takes place during Women's History Month, we offer the following list of historical dramas on these themes of labor, suffrage, and equal rights.

A semi-documentary of the year-long struggle by Chicano zinc miners in New Mexico striking against unsafe working conditions. When an injunction is issued against the workers from picketing, the wives take up battle with a fury, leaving the husbands to care for home and children. They finally overcome the forces of the mine owner and the law that backs them up.

Inspired by true events, a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of the women who risked everything in their fight for equality in early 20th century Britain. The story centers on Maud, a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.'s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst, Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life..

When he was just twenty-three, a recent graduate of Stanford University, Richard Engel set off to Cairo with $2,000 and dreams of being a reporter. Over two decades Engel has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the whole shooting match in Iraq, interviewed Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, was kidnapped in the Syrian crosscurrents of fighting. He goes into Afghanistan with the Taliban and to Iraq with ISIS. As NBC's Chief-Foreign Correspondent, he reveals his unparalleled access to the major figures, the gritty soldiers, and the helpless victims in the Middle East during this watershed time.

Hitler's forgotten children by Ingrid von Oelhafen

Created by Heinrich Himmler, the Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. In the summer of 1942, parents across Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia were required to submit their children to medical checks designed to assess racial purity. One such child, Erika Matko, was nine months old when Nazi doctors declared her fit to be a 'Child of Hitler.' Taken to Germany and placed with politically vetted foster parents, Erika was renamed Ingrid von Oelhafen. Many years later, Ingrid began to uncover the truth of her identity.

In celebration of National Women's History Month, five biographies of women who have made their mark.

Shirley Jones is an American film legend of the first order, having starred in Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The Music Man, as well as playing her Oscar-winning role as a prostitute in Elmer Gantry long before The Partridge Family. On that iconic show, she portrayed the epitome of American motherhood, a symbol to generations of families in the 1970s, and she remains a cult icon today.But for those who only think of Shirley as the prim and proper Marian the librarian or the chaste and demure Mrs. Partridge, a massive surprise is in store. Here, in this candid memoir, the real flesh-and-blood Shirley Jones is revealed at last in this hilarious and heartwarming, shocking and intimate memoir.

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, were thrust into the world spotlight when Gabby miraculously survived an assassination attempt. Now, as her health continues to improve, the couple shares their story. Told in Mark's voice and from Gabby's heart, this is an unflinching look at the challenges of brain injury, the responsibilities that fall to a loving spouse, and the healing power of deeply shared love and courage.

Celebrating Extraordinary Women In History

Marie Curie. Eleanor Roosevelt. Susan B. Anthony. Elizabeth I of England. Florence Nightingale. These remarkable women are well known to most of us, but there are many others in history just as remarkable whose names may not be as recognizable. In honor of Women's History Month we should all make some time to learn about them by reading some of the many biographies to found in the library's collection:

Bella Abzug: how one tough broad from the Bronx fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, pissed off Jimmy Carter, battled for the rights of women and workers, rallied against war and for the planet, and shook up politics along the way: an oral history by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom — Bella Abzug, American lawyer, congresswoman and social activist

Jane Addams and the dream of American democracy: a life by Jean Bethke Elshtain — Jane Addams, American social reformer, suffrage leader and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

"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.

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