History Booklists

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Journey Back In Time

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American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work
by Nick Taylor Details
In response to massive poverty, rampant unemployment, breadlines, and "Hooverville" shantytowns during the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration initiated the Works Progress Administration under the leadership of Harry Hopkins as a means of putting people back to work and as a lynchpin of its New Deal program. This is a history of the WPA that describes its origins, the political controversies over its activities, its contributions to the national infrastructure and eventually to the war effort, and the cultural legacy of its arts programs.
Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and her courageous Crew
by Alex Kershaw Details
Kershaw details the history of the U.S. Navy submarine Tang in the Pacific theater of World War II, the explosion that led to its sinking, the ordeal of its surviving crew members and their capture by the Japanese, followed by months of brutal captivity.
London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London
by Leo Hollis Details
The Great Fire of London in 1666 was the culmination of a series of disasters to hit the city. It had already survived civil war, plague and drought. When the ashes cooled, the city was in ruins. Hollis, a historian and author, traces the recreation of the city through the efforts of five very different men.
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
by Rick Perlstein Details
Perlstein provides an account of the 37th presidency that sets Nixon's administration against a backdrop of the tumultuous civil rights movement, while offering insight into how key events in the 1960s set the stage for today's political divides.
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War
by Michael Dobbs Details
A reporter for The Washington Post, Dobbs sets out a minute-by-minute account of the 13 days in October 1962 when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were reported to be on the verge of unleashing nuclear weapons on each other because of Soviet missiles in Cuba. He combines the techniques of historian and journalist, and chose the moment when much archival material has become available, when many of the key players are still alive to talk and when most American alive today were not born yet and have never heard of the crisis.
Panama Fever: The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time -- The Building of the Panama Canal
by Matthew Parker Details
The building of the Panama Canal was one of the greatest engineering feats in human history. In a tale of exploration, conquest, money, politics, and medicine, Parker charts the challenges that marked the long, labyrinthine road to the building of the canal.
Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution
by David O. Stewart Details
The successful creation of the Constitution is a suspense story. "The Summer of 1787" takes us into the sweltering room in which delegates struggled for four months to produce the flawed but enduring document that would define the nation -- then and now.
This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
by Drew Gilpin Faust Details
This book is an illuminating study of the American struggle to comprehend the meaning and practicalities of death in the face of the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War. The eminent historian Drew Gilpin Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Zookeeper's Wife
by Diane Ackerman Details
When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw -- and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.
Updated 01/10/2012
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