Category Archives: Historical

Interested in History? Try One of These Popular Digital Titles!

Interested in history? Now might be a great time to read or listen to a book while you’re staying home and staying safe. Here are a few suggestions that you can download from Overdrive with your Fairfield Public Library card.

Title details for Jefferson's Daughters by Catherine Kerrison - Available

JEFFERSON’S DAUGHTERS
By Catherine Kerrison

“Kerrison contrasts the privileged upbringing of Thomas Jefferson’s two acknowledged daughters with wife Martha—Martha Jefferson Randolph (the eldest and favored daughter), and Maria Jefferson Eppes—and the shadowy life of daughter Harriet Hemings, born to Sally Hemings, his mistress and slave.” ~Library Journal

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Madame Fourcade's Secret War by Lynne Olson - Available

MADAME FOURCADE’S SECRET WAR
By Lynne Olson

“This masterfully told true story reads like fiction and will appeal to readers who devour WWII thrillers à la Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale.” ~Booklist

For more information, please click here.

Title details for The First Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer - Available

THE FIRST CONSPIRACY
By Brad Meltzer

“Best-selling novelist and television-host Meltzer (The Escape Artist, 2018) and documentarian Mensch bring the fast pace and sensibility of a thriller to the Hickey Plot, a failed 1776 scheme to kidnap and possibly murder George Washington. They vividly evoke the world of occupied New York City in which the scheme unfolded, describing the tensions within the overcrowded wartime community and the webs of relationships linking powerful backstage plotters with the greedy, desperate, or committed ordinary people designated to carry it out… Readers who like their histories full of twists, turns, and cliff-hangers will enjoy this romp through the Revolution.” ~Booklist

For more information, please click here.

Title details for The Radium Girls by Kate Moore - Available

THE RADIUM GIRLS
By Kate Moore

“Moore details the tragic stories of dozens of young women employed as dial painters during World War I. Often the daughters of immigrants, these women were lured to these prestigious and well-paying jobs unaware of the dangers of the radioactive paint present in their workplace—which caused their bodies and clothes to glow, even outside of work…A must-read for anyone interested in American and women’s history, as well as topics of law, health, and industrial safety.” ~Library Journal

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick - Available

VALIANT AMBITION: GEORGE WASHINGTON, BENEDICT ARNOLD, AND THE FATE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
By Nathaniel Philbrick

“Best-selling author Philbrick (Bunker Hill; The Mayflower) recounts details of Revolutionary War battles in the context of Gen. Benedict Arnold’s character traits as well as his relationships with George Washington and others that affected his successes and downfalls and ultimately led to his defection from the Continental to the British Army.” ~Library Journal

For more information, please click here.

For those interested in Connecticut history, try one of the following. There are more where these came from!

Title details for The Hartford Circus Fire by Michael Skidgell - Available

THE HARTFORD CIRCUS FIRE
By Michael Skidgell

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Connecticut Witch Trials by Cynthia Wolfe Boynton - Available

CONNECTICUT WITCH TRIALS
By Cynthia Wolfe Boynton

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Lighthouses and Lifesaving Along the Connecticut and Rhode Island Coast by James Claflin - Available

LIGHTHOUSES AND LIFESAVING ALONG THE CONNECTICUT AND RHODE ISLAND COAST
By James Claflin

For more information, please click here.

Title details for Connecticut Families of the Revolution by Mark Allen Baker - Available

CONNECTICUT FAMILIES OF THE REVOLUTION
By Mark Allen Baker

For more information, please click here.

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”                                               ~Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Fire and the Darkness: the Bombing of Dresden, 1945

THE FIRE AND THE DARKNESS: THE BOMBING OF DRESDEN, 1945

by Sinclair McKay

February 13, 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, Germany by British and American bombers. Carried out in 3 raids, it was one of the most devastating attacks of World War II. The first raid, beginning at 10:03 p.m. by British bombers, destroyed buildings, roads, and shelters. The second, again by the British, was an incendiary attack that rained fire from the sky to create a fire hurricane which destroyed everything in its path and suffocated those trapped in collapsed buildings and shelters. With the power lines being destroyed in the first raid there were no air-raid sirens to warn of the second raid, leaving many of those who ventured out to help the wounded caught off guard and out in the open. The third raid, carried out the next day by American bombers, destroyed what was left.

A portrait of the city before, during, and after the devastating raids, this is a story told from all points of view: the residents, the bombers, and the city itself. Those living in Dresden believed they would be spared from such an attack because they were seen as an intellectual and cultural city with very little of their manufacturing aiding the war effort. Dresden was not, however, all innocence. Atrocities were carried out every day in the city with the remaining Jews in Dresden getting their “relocation” letter just days before the raid. As much to devastate the city as to devastate morale, the bombing of Dresden remains one the most controversial decisions of World War II. ~ Sue, Circulation

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

The Splendid and the Vile

THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE

  by Erik Larson

Erik Larson is always my go-to author for narrative non-fiction. His newest, THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE, focuses on Winston Churchill, and those around him, during the Blitz. There has been plenty written about the courage and stoicism of the British citizens during World War II, especially during the terror of the Blitz, but Larson delves deeper. His descriptions of the night raids- from the air raid sirens, to the different kinds of bombs, to the fiery destruction left behind, is enthralling. Churchill’s reaction to the air raid sirens (he ran to the roof as everyone else ran for the underground shelters) illustrates his strong and defiant personality. Readers will gain a new respect for this leader and his ability to convince his countrymen, and the world, that they would persevere even as fire literally rained down from the sky. Anyone interested in WWII history, Churchill, or just a great recounting of a seminal event in history will be captivated. ~ Sue, Circulation

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

Check Out These Mystery Series!

Scottish Bookshop Mystery Series by Paige Shelton

For fans of contemporary or cozy mysteries, this series features Delaney Nichols, an American who has left home for a job in Edinburgh, Scotland at The Cracked Spine. So much more than just a bookshop, the Cracked Spine has a secret room full of antique treasures that her boss, Edwin, has been collecting for years. Murder and intrigue are never very far from Delaney and the mysterious Cracked Spine.
A great cast of characters and a terrific setting make this a mystery series not to be missed.

  1. THE CRACKED SPINE please click here.
  2. OF BOOKS AND BAGPIPES please click here.
  3. LOST BOOKS AND OLD BONES please click here.
  4. THE LOCH NESS PAPERS please click here.

 

Wrexford & Sloane Mystery Series by Andrea Penrose

For fans of historical mysteries, this series features the Earl of Wrexford, a wealthy lord, and Charlotte Sloane, a political cartoonist who writes under the pseudonym A.J. Quill. Charlotte and Wrexford move in different social circles so each has their own web of informants and spies. This makes them a formidable team when it comes to solving murders. Regency London has never seemed as dark and sinister as in this riveting series.

  1. MURDER ON BLACK SWAN LANE please click here.
  2. MURDER AT HALF MOON GATE please click here.
  3. MURDER AT KENSINGTON PALACE please click here.

More World War II Recommended Reading and the Adult Summer Reading Code!

The Adult Summer Reading Code is: Penny                                                                                            For more information about our Summer Reading Programs for all ages, please click here.

June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. The library has a wonderful collection of World War II novels and non-fiction. The following are just a few suggested titles. Check back for more recommendations every week in June and July.

THE NIGHTINGALE
By Kristin Hannah
“Hannah departs from the contemporary novels she’s known for with this engrossing tale of two sisters’ bravery in occupied France during WWII.” ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

FORGOTTEN: THE UNTOLD STORY OF D-DAY’S
BLACK HEROES, AT HOME AND AT WAR
By Linda Hervieux
“In her debut, journalist and photographer Hervieux unearths a valuable piece of the D-Day landing story scarcely included in the official records: the contributions of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the only African-American combat unit to land at Normandy.” ~Kirkus

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE SOLDIER’S WIFE
By Margaret Leroy
“Leroy has written a tender love story wrapped around a horrifying account of unspeakable cruelty. She brings to life the island and the characters that populate it.” ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE DEAD AND THOSE ABOUT TO DIE: D-DAY:
THE BIG RED ONE AT OMAHA BEACH
By John C. McManus
“A focused tale of the hellish ascendancy of the U.S. Army’s famed 1st Infantry Division on June 6, 1944, underscoring how the Normandy invasion nearly went terribly awry.” ~Kirkus

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

 

World War II Recommended Reading

June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. The library has a wonderful collection of World War II novels and non-fiction. The following are just a few suggested titles. Check back for more recommended reading every week in June.

THE LIGHT OVER LONDON
By Julia Kelly
“This is a bold story of a young woman’s innocence and heartache, and her satisfying discovery of her worth and inner strength.” PW

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE ALLIES: ROOSEVELT, CHURCHILL, STALIN,
AND THE UNLIKELY ALLIANCE THAT WON WORLD WAR II
By Winston Groom
“Groom’s legions of fans will enjoy his novelistic approach to history, and all readers will appreciate the plethora of information he offers about three of the most important personalities of the twentieth century. With plenty of action, romance, intrigue, diplomacy, tragedy, and richly detailed history, The Allies is a strong addition to WWII collections.” ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE ALICE NETWORK
By Kate Quinn
“A compelling blend of historical fiction, mystery, and women’s fiction, Quinn’s complex story and engaging characters have something to offer just about everyone.” ~Library Journal

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

DOUBLE CROSS: THE TRUE STORY OF THE D-DAY SPIES
By Ben MacIntyre
“Macintyre effortlessly weaves the agents’ deliciously eccentric personalities with larger wartime events to shape a tale that reads like a top-notch spy thriller.” ~PW

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings

June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy. The library has a wonderful collection of World War II novels and non-fiction. The following are just a few suggested titles. Check back for more recommended reading every week in June.

NORMANDY ’44 : D-DAY AND THE EPIC 77-DAY BATTLE FOR FRANCE
By James Holland

“This hefty, scrupulously balanced history of the Allied invasion of northern France goes beyond some of the well-known events of D-Day, thanks to Holland’s meticulous research and clear-eyed view of the big picture… This is an excellent and engrossing new look at the Normandy invasion.” ~PW

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

EVERY MAN A HERO: A MEMOIR OF D-DAY, THE FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA BEACH,
AND A WORLD AT WAR
By Ray Lambert

“Lambert, a 98-years-young recipient of the Silver Star, finally agreed to commit his WWII experiences to paper after realizing that he is one of the last survivors of the D-Day landings at Normandy…All Americans owe Lambert gratitude for his service and sacrifice, and for sharing his memories so that we never lose our connection to the ever-relevant past. ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE
By Anthony Doerr
“A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. It rests, historically, during the occupation of France during WWII, but brief chapters told in alternating voices give the overall—and long—­narrative a swift movement through time and events.” ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

THE FIRST WAVE: THE D-DAY WARRIORS WHO LED THE WAY TO VICTORY IN WORLD WAR II
By Alex Kershaw
“Kershaw is at his evocative best describing the chaos, courage, and carnage of combat, vividly portraying the bravery of the “greatest generation.” Even readers well-read on the subject will enjoy this perspective.” ~Publisher’s Weekly

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

MISTRESS OF THE RITZ
By Melanie Benjamin
“Benjamin, who has made a career out of fashioning compulsively readable historical fiction starring real-life women does it again here with the life story of American expatriate Blanche Auzello, the titular Mistress of the Ritz, whose French husband, Claude, managed the legendary Paris hotel from the Jazz Age into the sixties and, notably, during the German Occupation.” ~Booklist

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

SOLDIER, SAILOR, FROGMAN, SPY, AIRMAN, GANGSTER, KILL OR DIE:
HOW THE ALLIES WON ON D-DAY
By Giles Milton
“Cornelius Ryan and Stephen Ambrose have set the standard for D-Day historiography. It’s safe to say that Milton (Nathaniel’s Nutmeg) can be now added to that list with this refreshing portrayal of how the Allies prepared, fought, lost, and won on that fateful day in 1944.” ~Library Journal

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

MISSION TO PARIS
By Alan Furst
Furst conveys a strong sense of the era, when responding to a knock might open the door to the end of one’s days. The novel recalls a time when black and white applied to both movies and moral choices. It’s a tale with wide appeal.~ Kirkus

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

MADAME FOURCADE’S SECRET WAR: THE DARING YOUNG WOMAN WHO LED FRANCE’S LARGEST SPY NETWORK AGAINST HITLER
By Lynne Olson
“As well researched and engrossing as her previous books, showcasing her adroit ability to weave personal narratives, political intrigue, and wartime developments to tell a riveting story, Olson’s latest is highly recommended to readers interested in World War II, the history of espionage, women’s history, and European history.” ~Library Journal

For more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

Damnation Island

Title: Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th Century New York

Author: Stacy Horn
Publisher: Algonquin, May 2018

Summary/Review: Though we all know how awful many if not most mental health facilities were, even into the 20th century, this book was a revelation.

In the 1800’s, Blackwell’s Island, now Roosevelt Island in New York’s East River, was home to a lunatic asylum, prisons, hospitals, poor houses and work houses. All built with the greatest of intentions, but all ending as abominations. From over-crowding, physical abuses, and utter disregard for sanitary practices, these buildings meant to protect, rehabilitate, and heal were actually death traps and torture chambers.

Horn focuses on a few major and minor players for a well-rounded look into lives that were so tragically affected, and a few who tried in vain to change the system.

Who will like this book: For readers who like narrative non-fiction and history.

If you would like more information, or to place a hold, please click here.

Recommended by: Sue B., Circulation

Mischling

Title: MISCHLING

Author: Affinity Konar

Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books, September 2016

Summary/Review: On the surface, MISCHLING is a haunting novel about the brutality and depravity inflicted upon “multiples” at the hands of Josef Mengele in Auschwitz. It soon becomes apparent, however, that this novel is an affirmation of the importance and power of family, whatever your definition of family may be.

Precocious twins, Stasha and Pearl, arrive in Auschwitz when they are twelve years old. Their daily survival depends on their memories of the family they are separated from, their devotion to each other, and the bonds they form with the people around them. Perverted attempts are made to alter the meaning of family with names like “Uncle Doctor” for Mengele and “Twin’s Father” for their reluctant caretaker, but it is with their fellow prisoners that the twins forge a new family, not of blood, but of something deeper.

MISCHLING is a beautifully written, powerful reminder of the destructive nature of hate and the redemptive powers of love and hope. Stasha and Pearl will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a book that is beautifully written.  Someone who doesn’t shy away from one of the most difficult topics in one of the most brutal time periods in history.

If you liked this, try this: If you’re interested in World War II historical fiction, try “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, or “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak.  If you like Konar’s writing, she does have one earlier novel entitled “The Illustrated Version of Things”.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

 

Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet


 

 

 

 

 

Title: Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet

Author: H.P Wood

Publisher: Sourcebooks, June 2016

Summary/Review: Ah, turn of the century Coney Island. The sun, the surf, and its newest amusement park Dreamland. Yes, it’s all fun and games until someone dies from the plague. Who better to blame for this scourge than the misfits who work and live along the Boardwalk? Soon it will become a classic battle between “the haves” and “the have nots”, fueled by prejudice and fear of the unknown.

The wonderful, fully developed characters are what make this novel the gem that it is. A story that is atmospheric and reminiscent of a bygone era before wonderment gave way to cynicism and people could still believe in magic. 

Who will like this book?: Someone interested in historical fiction that focuses on the gritty atmosphere of old-time Coney Island.  Someone looking for a book that’s character-driven but dark.

If you like this, try this: This is a debut novel from the author, so if you liked the writing you may have to wait a while until another book is released!  If you liked the Coney Island setting, Alice Hoffman’s “Museum of Extraordinary Things” and Kevin Baker’s “Dreamland” both incorporate the location.

Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If you would like to place a hold on this book, please click here.