The Library of Congress illustrated time line of the Civil War / Margaret E. Wagner

Call number: E468.3 .W34 2011

With striking visuals from the Library of Congress’ unparalleled archive, The Library of Congress illustrated time line of the Civil War is an authoritative and engaging narrative of the domestic conflict that determined the course of American history. A detailed chronological timeline of the war captures the harrowing intensity of 19th-century warfare in first-hand accounts from soldiers, nurses, and front-line journalists. Readers will be enthralled by speech drafts in Lincoln’s own hand, quotes from the likes of Frederick Douglass and Robert E. Lee, and portraits of key soldiers and politicians who are not covered in standard textbooks. The Illustrated Timeline’s exciting new source material and lucid organization will give Civil War enthusiasts a fresh look at this defining period in our nation’s history. (From Google Books)

An introduction to Hmong culture / Ya Po Cha

Call number: DS509.5.H66 C48 2010

Presenting a holistic perspective of the Hmong way of life, this book touches on a spectrum of the Hmong culture, including traditions, customs, values, religion, arts, politics and ceremonial rituals. The book is written in English, and it also features and explains certain Hmong words, phrases and proverbs in the Hmong Roman Popularized Alphabet and in phonetic English. Topics include an overview of Hmong history; the conventional relationships between Hmong parents and their children; the rites and traditions of Hmong wedding and funeral ceremonies; the celebration of Hmong New Year; and home restrictions and other superstitious taboos. (From Google Books)

Jerusalem, Jerusalem : how the ancient city ignited our modern world / James Carroll

Call number: DS109.9 .C367 2011

James Carroll’s urgent, masterly Jerusalem, Jerusalem uncovers the ways in which the ancient city became, unlike any other in the world—reaching deep into our contemporary lives—an incendiary fantasy of a city.

In Carroll’s provocative reading of the deep past, the Bible’s brutality responded to the violence that threatened Jerusalem from the start. Centuries later, the mounting European fixation on a heavenly Jerusalem sparked both anti-Semitism and racist colonial contempt. The holy wars of the Knights Templar burned apocalyptic mayhem into the Western mind. Carroll’s brilliant and original leap is to show how, as Christopher Columbus carried his own Jerusalemcentric worldview to the West, America too was powerfully shaped by the dream of the City on a Hill—from Governor Winthrop to Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan. The nuclear brinksmanship of the 1973 Yom Kippur War helps prove his point: religion and violence fuel each other, with Jerusalem the ground zero of the heat.

To the standard set by Constantine’s Sword, Jerusalem, Jerusalem is again a “rare book that combines searing passion . . . with a subject that has affected all our lives” (Chicago Tribune).

The Battle of Britain : five months that changed history, May-October 1940 / James Holland

Call number: D756.5.B7 H66 2011

The Battle of Britain paints a stirring picture of an extraordinary summer when the fate of the world hung by a thread. Historian James Holland has now written the definitive account of those months based on extensive new research from around the world including thousands of new interviews with people on both sides of the battle. If Britain’s defenses collapsed, Hitler would have dominated all of Europe. With France facing defeat and British forces pressed back to the Channel, there were few who believed Britain could survive; but, thanks to a sophisticated defensive system and the combined efforts of the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the defiance of a new Prime Minister, Britain refused to give in. From clashes between coastal convoys and Schnellboote in the Channel to astonishing last stands in Flanders, slaughter by U-boats in an icy Atlantic and dramatic aerial battles over England, The Battle of Britain tells this epic story in a fresh and compelling voice. (From Google Books)

Sweetness : the enigmatic life of Walter Payton

Call number: B PAY

At five feet ten inches tall, running back Walter Peyton was not the largest player in the NFL, but he developed a larger-than-life reputation for his strength, speed, and grit. Nicknamed “Sweetness” during his college football days, he became the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards, capturing the hearts of fans in his adopted Chicago.
Crafted from interviews with more than 700 sources, acclaimed sportswriter Jeff Pearlman has produced the first definitive biography of Payton. Sweetness at last brings fans a detailed, scrupulously researched, all-encompassing account of the legend’s rise to greatness. From Payton’s childhood in segregated Mississippi, where he ended a racial war by becoming the star of his integrated high school’s football team, to his college years and his twelve-year NFL career, Sweetness brims with stories of all-American heroism, and covers Payton’s life off the field as well. Set against the backdrop of the tragic illness that cut his life short at just forty- six years of age, this is a stirring tribute to a singular icon and the lasting legacy he made.(From Google Books)

LBJ : architect of American ambition / Randall B. Woods

Call number: B JOH

 

For almost forty years, the verdict on Lyndon Johnson’s presidency has been reduced to a handful of harsh words: tragedy, betrayal, lost opportunity. Initially, historians focused on the Vietnam War and how that conflict derailed liberalism, tarnished the nation’s reputation, wasted lives, and eventually even led to Watergate. More recently, Johnson has been excoriated in more personal terms: as a player of political hardball, as the product of machine-style corruption, as an opportunist, as a cruel husband and boss.

In LBJ, Randall B. Woods, a distinguished historian of twentieth-century America and a son of Texas, offers a wholesale reappraisal and sweeping, authoritative account of the LBJ who has been lost under this baleful gaze. Woods understands the political landscape of the American South and the differences between personal failings and political principles. Thanks to the release of thousands of hours of LBJ’s White House tapes, along with the declassification of tens of thousands of documents and interviews with key aides, Woods’s LBJ brings crucial new evidence to bear on many key aspects of the man and the politician. As private conversations reveal, Johnson intentionally exaggerated his stereotype in many interviews, for reasons of both tactics and contempt. It is time to set the record straight.
Woods’s Johnson is a flawed but deeply sympathetic character. He was born into a family with a liberal Texas tradition of public service and a strong belief in the public good. He worked tirelessly, but not just for the sake of ambition. His approach to reform at home, and to fighting fascism and communism abroad, was motivated by the same ideals and based on a liberal Christian tradition that is often forgotten today. Vietnam turned into a tragedy, but it was part and parcel of Johnson’s commitment to civil rights and antipoverty reforms. LBJ offers a fascinating new history of the political upheavals of the 1960s and a new way to understand the last great burst of liberalism in America.
Johnson was a magnetic character, and his life was filled with fascinating stories and scenes. Through insights gained from interviews with his longtime secretary, his Secret Service detail, and his closest aides and confidants, Woods brings Johnson before us in vivid and unforgettable color. (From Google Books)

Gabby : a story of courage and hope / Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

Call number: B GIF

As individuals, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, showed Americans how optimism, an adventurous spirit, and a call to service can help change the world. As a couple, they became a national example of the healing power to be found in deeply shared love and courage. Their arrival in the world spotlight came under the worst of circumstances. On January 8, 2011, while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby was the victim of an assassination attempt that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Gabby was shot in the head; doctors called her survival “miraculous.”
As the nation grieved and sought to understand the attack, Gabby remained in private, focused on her against-all-odds recovery. Mark spent every possible moment by her side, as he also prepared for his final mission as commander of space shuttle Endeavour.

Now, as Gabby’s health continues to improve, the couple is sharing their remarkable untold story. Intimate, inspiring, and unforgettably moving, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope provides an unflinching look at the overwhelming challenges of brain injury, the painstaking process of learning to communicate again, and the responsibilities that fall to a loving spouse who wants the best possible treatment for his wife. Told in Mark’s voice and from Gabby’s heart, the book also chronicles the lives that brought these two extraordinary people together—their humor, their ambitions, their sense of duty, their long-distance marriage, and their desire for family.
Gabby and Mark made a pledge to tell their account as honestly as possible, and they have done so in riveting detail. Both Gabby and Mark have lived large public lives, but this book takes readers behind many closed doors—from the flight deck of the space shuttle to the cloakrooms of Congress to the hospital wards where Gabby struggled to reclaim herself with the help of formidable medical teams and devoted family and friends.
Questions are answered with unvarnished candor. How do Gabby and Mark feel about the angry political discourse that was swirling in America at the time of the shooting, and that remains prevalent today? How do they see government living up to the highest possible ideals? And how do they understand and mourn the loss of the people who did not survive that day? Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope is a reminder of the power of true grit, the patience needed to overcome unimaginable obstacles, and the transcendence of love. In the story of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, we all can see the best in ourselves. As Mark and Gabby’s friends have said: “The two of them are America as we dream it can be.