History

Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War by S. C. Gwynne - Book Review

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$32.00
ISBN: 9781501116223
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Published: Scribner - October 29th, 2019

Gwynne splendidly achieves dual aims by unstintingly revealing the manifest horrors of the Civil War's final year, and keenly capturing the human, and sometimes humane, characteristics of its major and minor participants. As Lincoln, Grant, Lee, and the rest are trapped in the maelstrom, Gwynne unearths their aims, prejudices, prerogatives, and decisions which ultimately led to the preservation of the United States of America. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


The Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria: The Sinking of the World's Most Glamorous Ship by Greg King - Book Review

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$29.99
ISBN: 9781250194534
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - April 7th, 2020

With her gleaming white superstructure, jet black hull, and canted funnel sporting the national colors, the Italian liner Andrea Doria was the most strikingly beautiful of the postwar transatlantic passenger vessels. On July 25, 1956 she collided with Stockholm, a Swedish motorship in a dense fog off Nantucket. The reinforced bow of the Stockholm penetrated 40 feet into the Doria's starboard side, cutting a swath of destruction and death and inflicting a mortal wound. This is a meticulous account of the liner's last hours and of the largest sea rescue in peacetime history. Harrowing, tense, and memorable. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell - Book Review

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$29.95
ISBN: 9781324002161
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 12th, 2019

This ceaselessly fascinating, informative, and lucidly written study of the human body and how it was believed to work during the Middle Ages is all but impossible to put down. Hartnell doesn’t shy away from anything from stomach-turning methods of contraception (weasel testicles being one among many) to laying out exactly how the humors were supposed to work (and linguistic fossils that derive from them—feeling “out of balance”) to admitting what we can never really know about certain Medieval ideas. Organized by body part from head to blood, and from genitals to feet, he quietly incorporates not just the white European Middle Ages, but also Arabic and Jewish culture of the time. Where else could you learn about cures for baldness (vinegar and honey applied to the scalp), Italian laws that prohibited short shorts, cephalophores (animated headless saints), medieval doctors’ obsession with urine color, cruentation (how a murdered corpse begins to bleed in the presence of its murderer), controversies over Christ’s foreskin (did it ascend to heaven or remain on Earth, and which of the many relics is the real one?), how to get that pesky wandering womb back to where it is supposed to be, how the hair of a menstruating woman buried in the soil could produce a serpent, the uses of dried badger, how digestion and conception were imagined, the utility of a carpenter with a saw when surgeons aren’t available, the courtly entertainer Roland le Farteur, and an abbey outside of Paris where it was all the rage for the royalty to have their intestines buried. Fantastic! ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood


All the President's Men by Bob Woodward - Book Review

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$18.00
ISBN: 9781476770512
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Published: Simon & Schuster - June 3rd, 2014

Woodward and Bernstein rapped on countless doors; cornered and cold-called scores of politicos, hangers-on, feds, and lawyers; harangued and got harangued by editors; gulped gallons of coffee; made sterling and wrong-headed assumptions; and wound up earning their stripes as the journalists most responsible for exposing the cancer of Watergate. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9780399166662
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Published: Blue Rider Press - October 22nd, 2019

I picked this book up on a whim, and was NOT disappointed. What a thoroughly wonderful, entertaining, educating and utterly compelling read. WaPo columnist Weingarten wanted to write about a completely random day in US history, and after having various components literally picked out of a hat, spent 6 years researching and writing about December 28, 1986...a seemingly uneventful day but which, with the author’s encompassing research proves to be one of “...comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come.” Many of these episodes were private dramas in the lives of private people, but were still connected to the world at large. All were completely engrossing and made me realize that maybe there is no such thing as an “ordinary” day. A MUST read. ~ Reviewed by Tambra Johnson Reap


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson - Book Review

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$17.00
ISBN: 9780375725609
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Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2004

Barely two decades after its Great Fire, scorned by the Eastern elite as a backward cowtown, Chicago seized its chance for prominence hosting the 1893 World's Fair. The obstacles were immense; the personalities were sometimes difficult; the result was magnificent, as long as a blind eye faced the horror. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare


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