Tag Archives: History

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.

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.

100 Years and 2 Days

World War I, which began 100 years ago Monday, involved a total of 76 current nations and more than 65,000,000 troops. Here are today’s suggested fiction and non-fiction titles that are set during or around The Great War.

secret lifestella bain canal bridge great war

The Secret Life of Violet Grant                                                                                                                  By Beatriz Williams

“Rumor has it that Violet murdered her husband and mentor, Dr. Walter Grant, before mysteriously disappearing with her lover on the eve of WWI. As Vivian closes in on the past, she has a heart-wrenching problem of her own to resolve in the present. Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale.” ~Booklist

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Secret Life of Violet Grant, please click here.

Stella Bain: a novel                                                                                                                                       By Anita Shreve

“An intriguing character study that delivers compelling mystery without melodrama. Shreve offers a fresh, feminine twist on a topic that’s much in vogue lately-World War I…. Shreve cleverly and movingly shifts between Stella’s two lives, as we learn who she really is. A custody battle, a horrible case of wartime disfigurement, and even questions of women’s rights emerge in this spare but involving novel….” ~USA Today

To check our catalog or place a hold on Stella Bain: a novel, please click here.

The Canal Bridge                                                                                                                                              By Tom Phelan

“From Phelan’s effectively constructed and emotionally honest novel about Irish participation in WWI, the reader gains a new perspective on how the Great War decimated lives throughout Europe.” ~Booklist

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Canal Bridge, please click here.

The Great War : a Combat History of the First World War                                                                   By Peter Hart

“Hart demonstrates an admirable command of the subject matter and offers a compelling case for the lasting impact of the ‘unwaking nightmare that was WWI.'”
~Publishers Weekly

To check our catalog or place a hold on The Great War : a Combat History of the First World War, please click here.

One Summer

[Cover]

Title: One Summer: America 1927

Author: Bill Bryson

Publisher: Doubleday, 2013

Summary/Review: Reading this book is like having a friendly historian take you by the arm and walk you through a momentous summer in America a long time ago – 1927. Not just any summer to be sure, but a summer that included a long list of history-making events:

· The flight of Charles Lindbergh revolutionizing modern flight forever.

· Babe Ruth- changing the way baseball is played forever.

· Prohibition – making alcohol in the United States even more prevalent.

· Sacco and Venzetti – were they guilty? The evidence just wasn’t there.

· The invention of the television – “Commercial Use in Doubt”!!

· Talking motion pictures

And the list goes on.

Bill Bryson weaves the extraordinary story as he moves from one subject to another and breathes life into a time that I did not know much about-until now!

Who will like this book?:  History buffs

If you like this, try this:  If you liked Bill Bryson’s writing, he has quite a few other books – most popular titles include “A Walk in the Woods” and “A Short History of Nearly Everything”.  If you’re interested in more history, Erik Larson (“Devil in the White City”, “Garden of Beasts” is a popular historical author, and Vincent Bugliosi (“Four Days in November”, “Helter Skelter”) deals more with real crime.

Recommended by: Sue Z, Reference Librarian

If this looks like a book you’d like to try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold.

 

The Swerve

[Cover]

Title: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

Author: Stephen Greenblatt (narrated by Edoardo Ballerini)

Publisher: WW Norton, 2012

Summary/Review: Stephen Greenblatt (Ph.D. Yale) is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and is a historian.  His most recent book ,winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for general Non Fiction, revolves around a Roman poem  by Lucretius entitled On the Nature of Things. The poem, startling even for its time, asserts that there are only atoms that make up this universe, and the matter and the recombining of matter is all accidental – there is no god who guides and plans our lives; no god that cares about our existence. This is a startling assertion: a very disturbing and very modern idea is postulated about 50 years BCE!

Greek papyrus, Roman papyrus and codex suffer:  the ideas of the ancients deteriorate during the middle ages due to book worms, deterioration of ink and paper, persecution by church officials who deem them heretical, and the general ravages of time.  Enter Poggio Bracciolini, a 15th-century papal emissary, scribe and book hunter, who found a neglected copy of On the Nature of Things in a German monastery, copying it and distributing it to his humanist friends, and thus reintroducing important ideas to the Renaissance and beyond, ideas that are even found in our own Declaration of Independence.  There is so much more to this book that I can tell you here – and not all historians agree with Dr. Greenblatt.  But this was a fantastic “listen” – the narrator is excellent.

Who will like this book?:  History buffs and philosophical thinkers.  Someone looking for a non-fiction read that will illuminate the history of thinking.

If you like this, try this:  If you enjoyed Greenblatt’s writing, he has a number of other books – many focused on Shakespeare.  If you’d like to go back to the basics, “On the Nature of Things” is readily available, as are multiple interpretations and writings about the poem.

Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference Librarian

If this looks like something you would be interested, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if the book or audiobook are available!