Category Archives: nonfiction

Elephants: Birth, Life, and Death in the World of the Giants – Hannah Mumby

On a trip to Africa, I was amazed at the way the elephants encircled the babies to protect them when we came near. If there were no little ones in the group, they paid no attention to us, but they … Continue reading

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The Golden Flea: A Story of Obsession and Collecting – Michael Rips

Yes, this is really a book about a flea market, and yes, it is pretty good. New York City’s Chelsea Flea Market operated most weekends in a two-floor garage on the west side of Manhattan for decades, and Michael Rips … Continue reading

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Educated for Freedom: The Incredible Story of Two Fugitive Schoolboys who Grew Up to Change a Nation – Anna Mae Duane

In the 1820s most Americans did not see a need to educate black children. Reading, writing and a bit of math would do very well. After all, these children were seen as inferior. But the people who established the New York … Continue reading

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The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws and the Invention of Freedom – Stephen Tomkins

This year, 2020, marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. That’s usually the beginning of the story. But the story begins in 1553 with Queen Mary’s cleansing of the church. No, it really begins several hundred years before that. … Continue reading

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The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History – Kassia St. Clair

We take cloth for granted. It has just always been there. Cotton, silk, wool, linen, have been with us forever, nothing special. But this book shows how fabric has shaped our civilizations, has allowed us to go to extreme places, … Continue reading

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The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West – David McCullough

The wilderness northwest of the Ohio River was ready to be settled and Manasseh Cutler was determined to have his conditions included in the Northwest Ordinance: free universal education, freedom of religion and prohibition of slavery. He was not sure … Continue reading

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Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen – Mary Norris

Mary Norris loves all things Greek, but especially the Greek language. Not modern, Greek, mind you, Ancient Greek. This book recounts her studies learning the language, speaking the language. We go with her on solo trips to Greece (Crete, Rhodes, … Continue reading

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Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing – Ursula K Le Guin and David Naimon

David Naimon is a writer and the host of Portland, Oregon based podcast, Between the Covers. This all began as a series of recorded interviews with Ursula Le Guin for the show. Then they came to the conclusion that the … Continue reading

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Accidental Brothers – Dr. Nancy L. Segal and Yesika S. Montoya

William and Wilber, fraternal twins, grew up near the tiny village of La Paz, Colombia, without electricity, running water and the other conveniences most of us take for granted. But that was the life of all those around them. They … Continue reading

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Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage – Brian Castner

The indigenous people in the upper middle basin know it as Deh Cho. Those of the lower interior bush, the Nagwichoonjik, the Inut at the river’s end, the Kuukpak. All are a variation of Big River. It is the second … Continue reading

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1917: Lenin, Wilson, and the Birth of the New World Disorder – Arthur Herman, PhD

1917 was a pivotal year in the lives of both Lenin and Wilson. These two, so very unlike, shaped the world in which we now live. Wilson’s Pax Americana saw a world living in peace, countries willing to cooperate for … Continue reading

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The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home – Denise Kiernan

In 1888, George Vanderbilt, one of the richest men in the world, took his mother to Asheville, North Carolina, to breathe the mountain air and heal. He settled her in then went to see the magnificent views. The sight of … Continue reading

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Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History – Rebecca Romney, J. P. Romney

Who knew that the history of printing could be so much fun. In the introduction we are reminded that humankind is full of idiots and this book reinforces the idea. Rebecca Romney is a rare book expert often called upon … Continue reading

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Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto -Tilar J. Mazzeo

There were false identity papers for all of the children, but some of them needed more. They needed to be more Polish, less Jewish, needed golden curls, needed to stop speaking Yiddish, needed to forget their real families. Only Irena … Continue reading

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The Story of Egypt: The Civilization that Shaped the World – Joann Fletcher

This is a long book, it has to be. It spans 4,000 years. It’s not just names and dates, but filled with real people, like the royal manicurists Niankhnum and Khnumhotep, whose house was decorated with vignettes of their lives, … Continue reading

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