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November 2013

History Books Roundup: Reliving the Past

November 2013

Once again,'s Greg Fitzgerald has compiled a number of history titles that he believes are worth taking a closer look at. Among these November releases are THE DISCOVERY OF MIDDLE EARTH: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts by Graham Robb, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SECRET SIX: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, 1963: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION: How Youth Changed the World with Music, Art, and Fashion by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve, and GUINNESS: The Greatest Brewery on Earth -- Its History, People, and Beer by Tony Corcoran.

1963: The Year of the Revolution: How Youth Changed the World with Music, Art, and Fashion by Robin Morgan and Ariel Leve - History

November 4, 2014

While the Cold War began to thaw, the race into space heated up, feminism and civil rights percolated in politics, JFK’s assassination shocked the world, and the Beatles and Bob Dylan would emerge as poster boys and prophets of a revolution that changed the world. 1963: THE YEAR OF THE REVOLUTION records, documentary-style, the incredible roller-coaster ride of those 12 months, told through the recollections of some of the period’s most influential figures.

American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service by J Robert Moskin - History

November 19, 2013


AMERICAN STATECRAFT is a fascinating and comprehensive look at the unsung men and women of the U.S. Foreign Service whose dedication and sacrifices have been a crucial part of our history for over two centuries. Fifteen years in the making, veteran journalist and historian Moskin has traveled the globe conducting hundreds of interviews both in and out of the State Department to look behind the scenes at America’s “militiamen of diplomacy.”

The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis - History

November 12, 2013


THE ARIADNE OBJECTIVE tells the remarkable story of the secret war on Crete from the perspective of amateur soldiers --- scholars, archaeologists, writers --- who found themselves serving as spies in Crete because, as one of them put it, they had made “the obsolete choice of Greek at school.” In this thrilling untold story of World War II, Wes Davis offers a brilliant portrait of a group of legends in the making, against the backdrop of one of the war’s most exotic locales.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin - History/Politics

September 9, 2014

Doris Kearns Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the “muckraking” press, Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business.

The Discovery of Middle Earth: Mapping the Lost World of the Celts by Graham Robb - History

November 3, 2014

Graham Robb reveals the ancient secrets of the Celts, demonstrates the lasting influence of Druid science, and recharts the exploration of the world and the spread of Christianity. A pioneering history grounded in a real-life historical treasure hunt, THE DISCOVERY OF MIDDLE EARTH offers nothing less than an entirely new understanding of the birth of modern Europe.

Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs by Bob Brier - History

November 12, 2013


For 40 years, Bob Brier, one of the world's foremost Egyptologists, has been amassing one of the largest collections of Egyptian memorabilia and seeking to understand the pull of Ancient Egypt on our world today. Drawing on his personal collection --- from Napoleon's 20-volume Egypt encyclopedia to Howard Carter's letters written from the Valley of the Kings as he was excavating --- this is an inventive and mesmerizing tour of how an ancient civilization endures in ours.

End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson - History

November 12, 2013


The assassination of John F. Kennedy has been the subject of enduring debate, speculation and numerous conspiracy theories. But James L. Swanson's account follows the event hour-by-hour, from the moment Lee Harvey Oswald conceived of the crime three days before its execution, to his own murder two days later at a Dallas Police precinct at the hands of Jack Ruby, a two-bit nightclub owner.

Five Days in November by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin - History

November 19, 2013

On the night JFK was assassinated, a photo ran on the front pages of newspapers across the world, showing a Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the President and Mrs. Kennedy. Now Secret Service Agent Clint Hill commemorates the 50th anniversary of the tragedy with a book containing more than 150 photos, each accompanied by Hill’s insider account of those terrible days.

Five Lieutenants: The Heartbreaking Story of Five Harvard Men Who Led America to Victory in World War I by James Carl Nelson - History

November 19, 2013


FIVE LIEUTENANTS tells the story of five young Harvard men who took up the call to arms in the spring of 1917 and met differing fates in the maelstrom of battle on the Western Front in 1918. Delving deep into the motivations, horrific experiences and ultimate fates of this Harvard-educated quintet, the book presents a unique, timeless and fascinating account of citizen soldiers at war, and of the price these extraordinary men paid while earnestly giving all they had in an effort to end “the war to end all wars.”

George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger - History

October 28, 2014

When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied --- thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have painted compelling portraits of Washington’s secret six.

Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America by Owen Matthews - History

July 7, 2015

The Russian Empire once extended deep into America: in 1818, Russia’s furthest outposts were in California and Hawaii. The dreamer behind this great Imperial vision was Nikolai Rezanov, whose quest to plant Russian colonies from Siberia to California led him to San Francisco, where he was captivated by Conchita, the 15-year-old daughter of the Spanish Governor. Owen Matthews conjures a brilliantly original portrait of one of Russia’s most eccentric Empire-builders.

Guinness: The Greatest Brewery on Earth --- Its History, People, and Beer by Tony Corcoran - History

November 6, 2013


Tony Corcoran examines the magnitude of the operation of Guinness’s St. James’s Gate Brewery, and the working lives of the thousands of Dubliners who have depended on Guinness for their livelihood, either directly or indirectly. The company’s unusually progressive treatment of its workers—health care, training and housing --- is revealed in detail, as is the Guinness family’s philanthropy and compassion towards the less well-off residents of the city.

The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin - History/Biography

September 2, 2014

The great Oglala Sioux chief Red Cloud was the only Plains Indian to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the American government to sue for peace in a conflict named for him. At the peak of their chief’s powers, the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States. But unlike Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, or Geronimo, the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now his incredible story can finally be told.

A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton - History

November 14, 2013


Historian and cartography expert Jerry Brotton explores a dozen of history’s most influential maps, from stone tablet to vibrant computer screen. Starting with Ptolemy, “father of modern geography,” and ending with satellite cartography, A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 12 MAPS brings maps from classical Greece, Renaissance Europe, and the Islamic and Buddhist worlds to life and reveals their influence on how we --- literally --- look at our present world.

The Imperial Season: America's Capital in the Time of the First Ambassadors, 1893-1918 by William Seale - History

November 12, 2013


The first surge of America's world power led to profound changes in diplomacy, and a vibrant official life in Washington, DC, naturally followed. In the 25-year period that William Seale terms the "imperial season," a host of characters molded the city in the image of a great world capital. THE IMPERIAL SEASON is a unique social history that defines a little explored period of American history that left an indelible mark on our nation's capital.

Mozart: A Life by Paul Johnson - Biography/Music

November 25, 2014

In MOZART: A LIFE, acclaimed historian and author Paul Johnson’s focus is on the music --- Mozart’s wondrous output of composition and his uncanny gift for instrumentation. In addition, Johnson challenges the many myths that have followed Mozart, including those about the composer’s health, wealth, religion and relationships.

November 22, 1963: Ordinary and Extraordinary People Recall Their Reactions When They Heard the News compiled by Jodie Elliott Hansen, edited by Laura Hansen - History

November 5, 2013


Jodie Hansen channeled her grief over JFK’s assassination into a fascinating project. From 1978 to 1983, she sent thousands of queries asking both famous and ordinary citizens for their memories of those dark, confusing days. She and her daughter, Laura Hansen, have collected the responses she received into a stunning and poignant time capsule.

Owning the Earth: The Transforming History of Land Ownership by Andro Linklater - History

November 12, 2013


The history and evolution of landownership is a fascinating chronicle in the history of civilization, offering unexpected insights about how various forms of democracy and capitalism developed, as well as a revealing analysis of a future where the Earth must sustain nine billion lives. Seen through the eyes of remarkable individuals, OWNING THE EARTH presents a radically new view of mankind’s place on the planet.

Red Fortress: History and Illusion in the Kremlin by Catherine Merridale - History

November 12, 2013


Drawing on a dazzling array of sources from hitherto unseen archives and rare collections, renowned historian Catherine Merridale traces the full history of the Kremlin. This enigmatic fortress has inspired innumerable myths, but no invented tales could be more dramatic than the operatic successions and savage betrayals that took place within its vast compound of palaces and cathedrals.

Story of a Death Foretold: The Coup Against Salvador Allende, September 11, 1973 by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera - History

November 5, 2013


On September 11, 1973, President Salvador Allende of Chile was deposed in a violent coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. The coup had been in the works for months, even years. Shortly after giving a farewell speech to his people, Allende died of gunshot wounds --- whether inflicted by his own hand or an assassin’s remains uncertain. Pinochet ruled Chile for a quarter century, but the short rise and bloody fall of Allende is still the subject of fierce historical debate.

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 by Yang Jisheng and Edward Friedman - History

November 19, 2013


As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent 20 years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang attributes responsibility for the deaths to China’s totalitarian system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest.

Vanished: The Sixty Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton - History

November 4, 2014

In the fall of 1944, a massive American bomber carrying 11 men vanished over the Pacific islands of Palau, leaving a trail of mysteries. Now, in a spellbinding narrative, Wil S. Hylton weaves together the true story of the missing men, their final mission, the families they left behind, and the real reason their disappearance remained shrouded in secrecy for so long.