Recommended by Mary Whisner, reference librarian (Dec. 2015): Complex and thorough reporting of the nation-shaking events of 1963 and the years leading up to them. There is a small thread of memoir, as the white author reflects on her childhood in Birmingham and the parts her family members played. It's long, but worth the time.
Based on the true story of a group of experienced hikers who mysteriously died in February 1959 while hiking in the Ural Mountains in Russia, this book aims to discover the true story of what happened during that fateful trip. This is a quick and enjoyable read; I read this book on a long-haul flight and didn’t put it down until I’d finished it! –Jessica Dickinson, Advancement Services Officer (April 2017)
The life story of Seattle photographer Edward Curtis (1868-1952) that illuminates the changes in the American West and the detrimental impact those chances had on the Native Americans and their cultures. A remarkable story told by a journalist (N.Y. Times columnist) providing rich historical context and a riveting story. – Cindy Fester, research publications editor
Here’s a science/technology/history book that tells the fascinating and enjoyable story of how the Wrights developed their ideas about flight. – Rob Britt, coordinator of East Asian Library Services (April 2017)
Recommended by Mary Whisner, reference librarian (Dec. 2015): Compelling history of World War I, focused on the British. Includes pacifists, suffragettes, and ordinary soldiers, as well as politicians and generals.
– Twenty short lessons illustrate how oppressive regimes and authoritarian governments come to power in the past and what we can do to protect democracy in the present. – Summer Korst, human resources director (April 2017)
I’m not sure how I missed reading this in 2012, but this Pulitzer Prize winning book is GREAT. Partly a mystery story of how the Italian humanist and papal secretary Poggio Bracciolini discovered a complete copy of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) in a German monastery the early 14th century, and partly a description of how Lucretius’ beautifully written scientific and philosophical text from the 1st century BCE then spread Epicurean philosophy throughout Europe (much to the frustration of Catholic conservatives). – Prof. Hugh Spitzer (April 2017)