This summer will be the 150 year anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the deadliest periods of the Civil War. The three days saw record causalities and is also considered one of the turning points of the war. Instead of breaking out a dusty nonfiction tome, consider The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. This fiction book does a good job at adequately describing the events that did occur, but shines at getting into the heads of the major players. We meet Lee, Longstreet and Chamberlain and start to understand their thoughts, positions, opinions and fears as they prepare and head into battle. This is well researched, and really readable. The maps give you a good visual perspective as well.
One of the things I love most about history is not only learning the outcomes and the details of the events that took place, but investigating the other possibilities, thinking about the what-ifs, and figuring out the decisions that went into what really happened. Read more »
This class is designed for people interested in beginning research on their own family history. The basic resources will be reviewed including census records, marriage, birth and death records and obituaries. The class will also include a very brief review of Ancestry Library Edition and Family Search.org Registration Required
Civil War expert and popular battlefield tour guide Ed Bearss will talk about the Hoosier Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Bearss provided commentary for Ken Burns' PBS series, The Civil War, and has served as Chief Historian for the National Park Service. Presented in partnership with the Monroe County Civil War Roundtable; part of the David Wiley Lecture Series.
According to Adam Goodheart of the Smithsonian Magazine, Bearss is “nothing short of a rock star” in Civil War circles.
Don't miss this wonderful opportunity! Event is Tuesday, September 11th at 7pm in the Main Library's auditorium. Drop in.
My husband, who seldom brings books home from the library, surprised me recently with this one. I laughed and said, “I’m not that desperate” but after dinner I found myself browsing through the pictures. But soon I was drawn into the writing. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll love this book and if not, you’ll probably at least sample the series after reading it.
The World of Downton Abbey is a social history of the times--Edwardian England to shortly after World War 1. In eight essays, Fellowes describes life then. She also gives an idea of how many people worked in service in those years—more than in farming or mining. Families would rejoice when a child got hired by a wealthy landowner, especially one as highly regarded as an earl. Not only would the person have a secure job, but the family would no longer have to provide housing, clothing or food as they would have needed to if the person worked as a clerk.
This book is full of interesting facts about working in service at the beginning of the last century. There was a network of downstairs folk who spread news of job openings from place to place and also kept a black-list of rich people who mistreated their help.
Also, covered are corsets—just know you are very lucky to be spared the agony of wearing one. Even Daisy the kitchen maid had to don this straitjacket under her uniform. A woman in those days could not take hers off by Read more »
What a cool idea for a book. Telling the history of the world by looking at museum artifacts. To make it even more interesting, these descriptive reports of jewelry, mummies, pottery, coins, art, textiles, etc. were written by experts for radio. Luckily, for us we get to view the pictures also, hundreds of them.
A History of the World in 100 Objects is no coffee table book but a book to be read end to end. The entries for each of the objects (that range in date from 2,000,000 B.C. to 2010 A.D.) describe not only the artifacts themselves but what they teach us about history and about humanity. For example of silver bowl full of coins from around the year 927—shows that already England was well on its way to becoming a monarchy. Inscribed on one coin is Athelstan Rex totius Britanniae or Athelstan, King of All Britain.
Other items found in this same buried stash were arm bracelets from Ireland, Viking coins, and others from as far away as Afghanistan. A Viking stash of coins showed that they were becoming Christian—engraved on several was St. Peter’s name (Petri), but also inscribed was the hammer from Thor, the old Norse god. Read more »
One of the earliest historical reports of a far northern, snow-covered place was by Pytheas who sailed out of what is now Marseilles in 325 B.C., and discovered a place he called Ultima Thule, a six day journey north of Britain. No one knows exactly where his ship landed but people believe that it may have been Iceland, Greenland, Norway or the Shetlands. Pytheas described the remarkable midnight sun and reported that the sea surrounding Thule was “neither sea nor air but a mixture like a sea-lung that binds everything together.”
In the following centuries the Romans and medieval scholars called the Far North “the kingdom of the dead” where the Cyclops lived “in a place of chaos, the abysmal chasm.” In those days scholars also believed that the North Pole was a “gigantic metallic rock rising out of the ocean.” Read more »
This six part documentary produced by the BBC looks not only at the horrors that took place in Auschwitz; but at the developments, both political and technological that resulted in what many consider the worst of all the Nazi internment camps – Auschwitz, along with its immediate aftereffects. I can’t say that this documentary was a pleasure to watch but it was educational, important, and horrific. Read more »
I thought I knew most of what there was to know about Amelia Earhart and her doomed final flight, but this well-researched account, Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming, is both surprising and fascinating!Starting with a haunting account of the coast guard cutter Itasca’s fruitlesswait for Earhart to land on tiny Howland Island the morning of July 2, 1937, this book is hard to put down.Earhart’s early childhood was a happy one, but by the time she was in high school, her father had descended into alcoholism, sending the family into poverty and shame. Fleming implies that Earhart’s desperate wish to fly was at least partly a result of a need to free herself from the unpleasant realities of everyday life.
Forget what you know about Cleopatra - she was neither Egyptian, nor did she commit suicide with a live snake (though it remains a tenaciously romantic symbol) - and discover a much more complicated and interesting person. She was not the beauty as Elizabeth Taylor would make us believe, but was able to charm two of the most powerful men in history, and was lucky enough to bear sons by both. Stacy Schiff argues in this new remarkably readable biography, Cleopatra: A Life, that her death marked the end of an empire, the end of a dynasty and the end of ancient history. Read more »