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History & Biography 

This Month in History

Burial For a King:  Martin Luther King Jr.'s Funeral and the Week That Transformed Atlanta and Rocked the Nation by Rebecca Burns.

 April 4, 1968 - Civil Rights Leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee.  This book chronicles the events of the following week when the country is rocked by riots, political upheaval, and organized memorials leading up to his funeral.

 

 

Columbine by Dave Cullen. 

 April 20, 1999 - Two students armed with guns and explosives storm into Columbine High School at lunch time, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding more than 20 people before killing themselves.  Dave Cullen delivers an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who came to stockpile a basement cache of weapons, to record their raging hatred and to manipulate every adult who got in their way.


Disaster:  The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 by Dan Kurzman.

 April 18, 1906 - San Francisco is rocked by an Earthquake at 5:13 a.m., followed by a massive fire caused by overturned wood stoves and broken gas pipes.  The fire rages uncontrollably for three days resulting in the destruction of over 10,000 acres of property and 4,000 lives lost.

 

 

Failure is Not an Option:  Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz.

 April 11, 1970 - Apollo 13 launches from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m.  Fifty-six hours into the flight, an oxygen tank explodes in the service module.  Jack Swigert, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise then transfer into the lunar module, using it as a "lifeboat" and begin a perilous return trip to earth, splashing down safely on April 17th.

 

Lost Voices From the Titanic:  The Definitive Oral History by Nick Barratt.

 April 15, 1912 - In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2, 224 persons on board sinks at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg at 11:40 p.m.  Over 1,500 people perish.  The 700 survivors are rescued several hours later by the Cunard liner Carpathia.

 

 

Orphans Preferred:  The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express by Christopher Corbett.

 April 3, 1860 - In the American West, the Pony Express service begins with the first rider departing St. Joseph, Missouri.  For $5.00 an ounce, letters are delivered 2,000 miles to California within ten days.  The service lasts less than two years, ending upon the completion of the overland telegraph.

 

Starman:  The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony.

 April 12, 1961 - Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.  He travels aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completes a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes.

 

 

Tears in the Darkness:  The Story of the Bataan Death March and its Aftermath by Michael Norman and Elizabeth M. Norman.

 April 10, 1942 - The Bataan Death March begins as American and Filipino prisoners are forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan.  Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans are forced to march 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths.

 

 The Bay of Pigs by Howard Jones

 April 17, 1961 - Paramilitary group Brigade 2506 unsuccessfully attempts to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro.  

 

 

 

 Visit Sunny Chernobyl:  And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell.

 April 26, 1986 - A series of explosions destroys Chernobyl's Reactor number 4 causing a blaze that lasts for ten days and sends a plume of poisoned smoke into the earth's atmosphere.  Fifty workers are killed and the long term effects of the radiation remain difficult to assess, with cancer estimates ranging from 4,000-200,000 people.


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