Staff Picks

Stories of a river, a home, a station and some cities

Human history is often the story of change, growth and response to external forces and the desire to tame them. Whether you view these events in a positive or negative light, you can't deny that man has left his mark on the world around him. Join us in examining human history in terms of the cities, rivers, homes and places that helped shape us.

Keith C.
Automats, Taxi Dances and Vaudeville     Automats, Taxi Dances and Vaudeville    
David Freeland
    974.7104 Fre

Historian and journalist Freeland visits neighborhoods and areas of Manhattan seeking their history through the buildings, some of which are gone, some of which are hidden and a few that remain unchanged.

Chicago: A Biography     Chicago: A Biography    
Dominic Pacyga
    977.311 Pac

Starting with the first settler, Jean Baptiste Pointe de Sable, of West African and French descent and ending with the first U. S. president from Chicago, Barack Obama, Chicago historian Pacyga covers all its history from swamp to thriving metropolis, warts and all.

Conquering Gotham     Conquering Gotham    
Jill Jonnes
    385.314 Jon

"You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four, read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore" Sadly Penn Station was demolished in 1963. In 1901 the Pennsylvania Railroad begins to build the tunnels under the Hudson and the East River to bring the PRR into Manhattan. Historian Jonnes follows the station's history from the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White to the problems of building the tunnels to the completion of the project after nine years.

London     London    
Edward Rutherfurd
    Ru

Covering 2000 years from the Roman occupation to the Age of Elizabeth, six multi-generational families live out their lives in London, at one time the greatest city in the world. Compare with Peter Ackroyd's non-fiction biography of London.

London the Biography     London the Biography    
Peter Ackroyd
    942.1 Ac

Historian and biographer Ackroyd follows the history of London from Celtic settlement in its early days to being a city of immigrants in the 21st century. Compare with Edward Rutherfurd's novelization of London's history.

New York     New York    
Edward Rutherfurd
    Rutherf

Ruterhfurd's newest novelized city biography, "New York", follows characters rich and poor, black and white, native and immigrants from pre Revolutionary War times to the 911 attacks.

Paris     Paris    
Colin Jones
    944.361 Jo

Starting with prehistoric habitation, moving through Roman occupation, the Enlightenment the Revolution and two world wars, this book portrays Paris as ever a center of history and culture. Using sidebars to tie in time and place, "Paris" is for anyone who loves the city.

Sarum     Sarum    
Edward Rutherfurd
    Rutherf

Rutherfurd's tome follows the course of English history through five families living in Salisbury from the ice age through the 20th century. If you desire more British history, try Rutherfurd's London.

Saving Monticello     Saving Monticello    
Marc Leepson
    975.5482 Le

Upon Thomas Jefferson's death in 1826, his heirs were forced to sell Monticello to raise money to pay debts. A local druggist was the first purchaser. He let the building languish. In 1834 Uriah Phillips Levy, a Jewish U. S. Naval lieutenant and Jefferson admirer, purchased the house and began a 90 year relationship. Over the generations, the Levy family cared for the home, spending a considerable amount of money on it. This book follows their story over the decades down to how the house became a national treasure for everyone to enjoy.

Thames: The Biography     Thames: The Biography    
Peter Ackroyd
    942.2 Ack

More British history focusing on the river that has been an integral part of England from it's beginnings. Carrying commerce, war ships and traitors to the Tower of London, the Thames rolls on. Ackroyd visits all the towns and villages along the Thames 215 mile course. Read in conjunction with Ackroyd's London: a Biography.