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King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village  


By Peggielene Bartels.  Doubleday.

The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa. King Peggy has the sweetness and quirkiness of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and the hopeful sense of possibility of Half the Sky.  King Peggy chronicles the astonishing journey of an American secretary who suddenly finds herself king to a town of 7,000 souls on Ghana's central coast, half a world away. Upon arriving for her crowning ceremony in beautiful Otuam, she discovers the dire reality: there's no running water, no doctor, and no high school, and many of the village elders are stealing the town's funds. To make matters worse, her uncle (the late king) sits in a morgue awaiting a proper funeral in the royal palace, which is in ruins.

A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons  


By Elizabeth Dowling Taylor.  Palgrave Macmillan.

Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband's death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists.

December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World  


By Craig Shirley.  Thomas Nelson.

In the days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, eyes in America were focused on the war in Europe or distracted by the elevated mood sweeping the country in the final days of the Great Depression. But when planes dropped out of a clear blue sky and bombed the American naval base and aerial targets in Hawaii, all of that changed. December 1941 takes readers into the moment-by-moment ordeal of a nation waking to war. Best-selling author Craig Shirley celebrates the American spirit while reconstructing the events that called it to shine with rare and piercing light. By turns nostalgic and critical, he puts readers on the ground in the stir and the thick of the action. Relying on daily news reports from around the country and recently declassified government papers, Shirley sheds light on the crucial diplomatic exchanges leading up to the attack, the policies on internment of Japanese living in the U.

Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon  


By Derek Hayes.  University of California Press; 1 edition.

This gorgeous atlas, illustrated throughout with more than 500 colorful images and maps, provides a visually rich and textually engaging history of the states of Oregon and Washington. Derek Hayes brings his enthusiasm and expertise to a full range of topics, beginning with the first inhabitants and tracing the westward expansion, conflict between settlers and Native Americans, and the establishment of the Oregon Trail. We see in vivid images, old maps, and lively text the coming of the railroads and the rapid establishment of the coastal ports, northwest cities and roads, the fur and lumber industries, and the large farms. We also witness the twentieth-century development of the war industries, the establishment of the aviation industry, and the celebratory 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food  


By Adam Gopnik.  Knopf.

Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing—“You still eat meat?” With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives?   With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. It is a journey that begins in eighteenth-century France—the birthplace of our modern tastes (and, by no coincidence, of the restaurant)—and carries us to the kitchens of the White House, the molecular meccas of Barcelona, and beyond.

Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry  


By Ian Stewart.  Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition.

Anyone who thinks math is dull will be delightfully surprised by this history of the concept of symmetry. Stewart, a professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick (Does God Play Dice?), presents a time line of discovery that begins in ancient Babylon and travels forward to today's cutting-edge theoretical physics. He defines basic symmetry as a transformation, "a way to move an object" that leaves the object essentially unchanged in appearance. And while the math behind symmetry is important, the heart of this history lies in its characters, from a hypothetical Babylonian scribe with a serious case of math anxiety, through Évariste Galois (inventor of "group theory"), killed at 21 in a duel, and William Hamilton, whose eureka moment came in "a flash of intuition that caused him to vandalize a bridge," to Albert Einstein and the quantum physicists who used group theory and symmetry to describe the universe.

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America  


By David S. Reynolds.  W. W. Norton & Company.

“Reviewers’ Favorites of the Year,” - The New Yorker"Best of the Year in Nonfiction," - Kirkus  “Top Spring Nonfiction Picks,” - Publishers Weekly and Library Journal“Expansive and illuminating….One of the pleasures of "Mightier Than the Sword" is discovering that "Uncle Tom"'s fingerprints on history are almost everywhere.” - Adam Goodheart, “Slate”“Starred Review: A provocative overview of the life and afterlife of one of American literature’s most important texts….A sharp work of cross-disciplinary criticism that gives new power to a diminished novel. Reynolds successfully repositions the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe as a major political work, crucial not just to the abolitionist movement, but as kindling for the Civil War and an important inspiration to the cultural discussions of race relations through most of the 20th century” (Kirkus Reviews )“Consistently enlightening…Mightier Than the Sword deftly explores the social-intellectual context and personal experience out of which Stowe’s novel evolved into a grand entertainment and a titanic engine of change.

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account  


By Miklos Nyiszli.  Arcade Publishing.

“The best brief account of the Auschwitz experience available.”—The New York Review of BooksWhen the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform “scientific research” on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous “Angel of Death”: Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele’s personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account.

Excavations at Knowth (Royal Irish Academy Monographs in Archaeology,)  


By George Eogan.  Royal Irish Academy; 2nd edition.

Considers the history and settlement of Knowth and the wider Brugh na Boinne area, from the emergence of political power in the Boyne Valley prior to the tenth century, through the Medieval and post-Reformation periods, to the present day. This book examines how Knowth has for millennia played an important role in Ireland's heritage.  Read more...

The Jesuits and the Indian Wars of the Northwest  


By Robert Burns.  Idaho Research Foundation.




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