18. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction · Tags:

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, read by Angie, on 05/18/2013

I am so glad narrative nonfiction is becoming the “in” thing because it is so much more interesting to read than boring old regular nonfiction! This book is as compelling as any novel I have read. Sheinkin did an amazing job researching the events and the people that led up to the creation of the bomb. I can’t imagine all the FBI files he had to read to get some of this stuff. In Bomb, he takes a look at how the Americans started the race to beat the Germans to the atomic bomb and how the Russians stole the plans. We get first-hand accounts of the events and what the people involved thought at the time. It was truly fascinating and hard to put down.

This is a 2013 Newbery Honor Book, the 2013 Sibert Medal Winner, and a 2012 National Book Award finalist.

18. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Saved Jews During the Holocaust by Karen Gray Ruelle, Deborah Durland DeSaix, read by Angie, on 05/16/2013

There are many stories of people helping their Jewish neighbors during WWII, but this is one I had not heard of. The Grand Mosque in Paris was responsible for saving many Jews by hiding them and getting them Muslim identification papers. Of course this only worked on those Jews who could pass for Muslim. There are many individual stories in this book and it all paints a picture of heroism at a time of great risk. The illustrations are wonderful and beautiful. Definitely a book to recommend to those interested in WWII, history or heroism.

18. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Biographies, Children's Books, History, NonFiction

Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto by Susan Goldman Rubin, Bill Farnsworth (Illustrator), read by Angie, on 05/16/2013

There is just something about WWII stories that really pulls at my heart. I find the people who worked for the underground movements and helped the Jewish people fascinating. There is something about their courage and heroism that really makes you look at your own life and wander what you would have done in a similar situation. Not everyone was strong enough to stand up for what was right, but Irena Sendler was definitely one of those heroes. Her story is similar to others who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, but it is definitely worth knowing. I thought this picture book biography did a good job of showing her courage and dedication to doing what is right. She is a hero from a very dark time in our history and her story deserves to be told.

16. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim

Lenin, Stalin, Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately, read by Kim, on 05/13/2013

I loved this book for its content and historical value. It gives a fresh new look at the three most infamous dictators of Europe and the havoc wreaked upon the world during their lives and the after effects once they were dead.

06. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, History, NonFiction · Tags:

Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley, Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator), read by Angie, on 05/06/2013

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two of our founding fathers. They could not have been more different yet they believed in the same thing…an independent America. Together they helped this country become free and were both presidents. They even died on the same day. I think their story is an interesting one and this book does a great job of illustrating the time period and their friendship. The illustrations are wonderful and very child friendly. The entire book read like a Saturday morning special…School House Rocks maybe. 2013 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children honor book.

03. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim · Tags:

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, read by Kim, on 05/03/2013

I loved this book. Everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, but I never the story behind the assassination or the plot to kill him. This was a very fast read and I learned so much  more about this event in history than I ever knew before. Bill O’Reilly is correct when he states that every American should know the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This book gets a 4-Star rating from me!

01. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: ,

The Real Life Downton Abbey by Jacky Hyams, read by Tammy, on 04/15/2013

real life downtonThis was a fun, informative book. Great for all Downton Abbey fans. It is written by a British author so occasionally a British term or two. Each chapter covers a different section of life in a wealthy home usually starting with how the lord and lady and their family were expected to behave then the upper servants down to the lowly kitchen maid, poor Daisy.

upstairs & downstairsThis illustrated book takes you on a guided tour of a single day in an wealthy English home of the Edwardian era. Starting with the servants hard at work while the family is still asleep in their beds, and ending with a lavish dinner party, this book includes accounts from actual masters and servants. It also contains feature pages on famous figures like Winston Churchill and Virginia Woolf and their comments about their home life and their servants.

26. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim, NonFiction

Moscow: December 25 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union by Conor O' Clery, read by Kim, on 04/25/2013

This was a very good book to read about the demise of the communist regime in Russia and the great rivalry that existed between Gorbachev and Yeltsin.

22. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction

Atlantis and the Silver City by Peter Daughtrey, read by Angie, on 04/21/2013

In Atlantis and the Silver City, Peter Daughtrey posits that Atlantis was actually the Portuguese city of Silva on the Iberian coast. He basis his hypothesis on the writings of Plato that describe Atlantis and its location. He uses dozens of points from Plato to “proof” that Atlantis once existed in Iberia. His research and claims are extensive and his proof seems pretty plausible. However, there isn’t a whole lot of evidence other than his conjecture to prove his hypothesis. The book is a lot of conjecture and hopeful thinking. Everything he says seems plausible and intriguing. Atlantis could have existed in Spain/Portugal. I have no reason to believe it didn’t just as I have no proof that it did. Daughtrey’s arguments on the location are pretty extensive and interesting. They do make you think and seem entirely possible. Towards the end of the book he brings up a bunch of other things that I think seem less plausible. He tries to tie instances of red-heads, pyramids and the DNA symbol around the world to the migration of the Atlantian people. More intriguing is his argument about Phoenician not being the first written alphabet/language. This book is full of interesting ideas about the beginnings of mankind. It would be really interesting if they were true. Maybe one day archaeological evidence will support Daughtrey’s claims.

I receive a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.

19. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim

Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick, read by Kim, on 04/18/2013

I really enjoyed reading Remnick’s book on the end of communism in Russia.

16. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Kim, NonFiction · Tags:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson, read by Kim, on 04/16/2013

The bestselling author of “Devil in the White City” turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A good piece of well-known history from a different perspective.

This is a true story about the theft of a very expensive pearl necklace. This happened during the Edwardian era in London and it amazed me how easy it was to steal this necklace. After the crime the thieves had a much harder time selling it. Scotland Yard was starting to use more modern investigating tools like finger printing. But it was just the old reliable stake out plan that caught the guilty men.

02. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Madeline, NonFiction

A Journey Around Our America: A Memoir on Cycling, Immigration and the Latinoization of the U.S. by Louis G. Mendoza, read by Madeline, on 03/10/2013

Immigration and the growing Latino population of the United States have become such contentious issues that it can be hard to have a civil conversation about how Latinoization is changing the face of America. So in the summer of 2007, Louis Mendoza set out to do just that. Starting from Santa Cruz, California, he bicycled 8,500 miles around the entire perimeter of the country, talking to people in large cities and small towns about their experiences either as immigrants or as residents who have welcomed–or not–Latino immigrants into their communities. He presented their enlightening, sometimes surprising, firsthand accounts in Conversations Across Our America: Talking About Immigration and the Latinoization of the United States.

Now, in A Journey Around Our America, Mendoza offers his own account of the visceral, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of traveling the country in search of a deeper, broader understanding of what it means to be Latino in the United States in the twenty-first century. With a blend of first- and second-person narratives, blog entries, poetry, and excerpts from conversations he had along the way, Mendoza presents his own aspirations for and critique of social relations, political ruminations, personal experiences, and emotional vulnerability alongside the stories of people from all walks of life, including students, activists, manual laborers, and intellectuals. His conversations and his experiences as a Latino on the road reveal the multilayered complexity of Latino life today as no academic study or newspaper report ever could.

28. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tammy, Travel · Tags: , ,

50 Years of Making Memories: Silver Dollar City 1960-2010 by Jan Peterson, read by Tammy, on 03/10/2013

This is mainly a photo collection of the history of theme park, Silver Dollar City and Marvel Cave starting with the cave’s discovery. The photos also feature the theme park’s festivals, craftsman and visitors having fun in the park. It was a fun read for me, since I first went to Silver Dollar City as a sophomore in high school with my aunt and uncle, then when in college Branson was only an hour away so it was a great get-away spot for a day of fun with friends. So, the area holds lots of good memories for me.

 

24. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, Informational Book, NonFiction, Tracy · Tags:

Play Me Something Quick and Devilish by Howard Wight Marshall, read by Tracy, on 02/21/2013

Since I live in Missouri and enjoy bluegrass and old-time music this book was very interesting. Also nice that it has a cd with samples of different styles of fiddling. I also found a cd on Spotify with Howard Marshall playing. Lots of photos. Missouri is full of talented fiddlers.

24. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tracy

Why Jazz Happened by Marc Myers, read by Tracy, on 02/07/2013

Not only is this a good source for the history of Jazz but it also discusses the record industry. How and why the 78 record evolved into the 45 and 33 long playing albums. Why ASCAP was started and how World War II helped musicians learn more and find jobs. The economy and geography of America had a lot to do with Jazz and still does.

24. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: History, NonFiction, Tracy

Consider The Fork by Bee Wilson, read by Tracy, on 01/02/2013

Look around your kitchen at all your gadgets and cooking tools and there is a reason they were all invented. Since eating is the most important part of living these tools made our cooking chores easier. Depending on what your culture and lifestyle is you may use different tools then the Chinese and French. Cooking was a dangerous job early on mostly because of fire and metal pots that might poison you. Bee Wilson did a lot of research finding out why our everyday utensils, like the wooden spoon, was invented. If you like to cook and eat this book is for you.

19. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Biographies, Children's Books, History, Melody, NonFiction · Tags:

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and other Female Villains by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Rebecca Guay, read by Melody, on 03/15/2013

Bad Girls is the perfect foil to the book I just read about women who changed the world.  While Girls who Rocked the World was about scientists, activists, and heroes who made the world a better place, Bad Girls is about women who made their mark in a different way.  There are blood baths, axe slayings, fallen women, and outlaws.   Mata Hari, Typhoid Mary, Catherine the Great, and Salome.  Yolen and her daughter and co-author Stemple debate in asides between the chapters whether the women were really as bad as history paints them or were there other circumstances to consider.  Fun read and who doesn’t love a bad girl?

10. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, History, NonFiction · Tags:

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan , read by Angie, on 03/09/2013

During WWII there was a secret installation in Tennessee. Oak Ridge became one of the largest military reservations doing top secret work. At its height, Oak Ridge had 75,000 residents and employed many more. But everything at Oak Ridge was on a need to know basis. Even the workers knew little of what they were doing. All they were told was that it was to help the war effort. Of the thousands who worked at Oak Ridge a large percentage were women. They were recruited from all over the country to move to Oak Ridge and work in one of its sections. There were scientists and secretaries, cleaners and factory workers, black and white, married and single. People from all walks of life flocked to Oak Ridge hoping to secure a position there.

This is the story of several of the women who lived and worked at Oak Ridge. This book tells their stories of how they were recruited, what they did at the reservation and what happened to them afterwards. Oak Ridge was not just a military factory it was a town with churches, theaters, dormitories and houses. The men and women of Oak Ridge may have been surrounded by fences and guards but they had pretty much everything they could need on the reservation. It wasn’t until after Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the people at Oak Ridge learned they had been building the atomic bomb.

We know a lot about WWII, it seems it is one area of history that is covered thoroughly. So it is nice to read an account of events that are not widely known. When we think about the creation of the atomic bomb you think of the Manhattan Project and Los Alamos, but Oak Ridge does not come readily to mind even though it was a major player in the development of the bomb.

I really enjoyed how this book was set up. The chapters are filled with accounts of the women highlighted by the author. They tell these women’s stories of living and working, of the secrecy, of falling in love and getting married. Between the chapters are section on Tubealloy, the name given to the elements of the atomic bomb. These are scientific and military based describing what lead up to the discovery of the atom and fission and how the scientific and military community controlled the information and the research. While some of these sections were a little dry for me, I really enjoyed the information. The level of secrecy surrounding this project was astounding as was the amount of money spent.

This was a fascinating look at an area of history I knew nothing about. I loved learning about the lives of the people at Oak Ridge and what went into the creation of the atomic bomb. This book seemed really well researched with a lot of first hand information and documentation. Kiernan provides extensive notes on her research at the end of the book. I would definitely recommend this book to people interested in historic nonfiction.

I received a galley of this book from the publishers through Netgalley.com.