Alexander, Caroline. The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. New York, Knopf, 1998. It’s man against nature at the dawn of World War I, as the lure of the last unclaimed land on earth dazzles with its beauty and danger in this adventure of discovery and survival.
Aronson, Marc. Witch Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials. New York, Simon & Schuster, 2003. Revisit a time of nightmare, fear, hysteria--beyond The Crucible, sift through the myths, half-truths and misinformation to make up your own mind about what really happened in Salem Village and why.
Berg, A. Scott. Lindbergh. New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1998. Daring, mysterious, and one of the 20th century’s first superstars—who was the man behind the myth and how did his historic flight across the Atlantic remake the world?
Danticat, Edwidge. The Farming of Bones. New York, SoHo Press, 1998. A Caribbean holocaust story, when nationalist madness and ethnic hatred turn island neighbors into executioners. Amid the rumors of terror, Annabelle and Sebastien hold on to love, to dignity—and struggle to survive.
Ellis, Joseph E. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. What seems like a foregone conclusion was anything but—six dramatic vignettes reveal the men behind the events of the most decisive decade in American history.
Frank, Mitch. Understanding September 11, Answering Questions about the Attacks on America. New York, Penguin Group, 2002. These events are burned into images we can never forget—but after the pain of September 11 we ask “why” and “what” do we need to learn about the historical, religious and cultural issues that sparked the attacks.
Geras, Adele. Troy. New York, Scholastic, 2001. A city under siege, epic battles and heroes, powerful supernatural forces—it’s the story of the Trojan war seen through the eyes of its women in one our oldest stories of the cruelty of war.
Glancy, Diane, Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea. New York, OverlookPress, 2003. You are there on the epic journey of Lewis and Clark that opened the west to the call of manifest destiny. Contrasts between the explorers’ actual journals and the young Shoshone woman’s own records reveal the inherent clash of cultures in this vast new land.
Hansen, Drew D. The Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation. New York, HarperCollins, 2003. This great humanitarian and leader did indeed have a dream, and it has resonated through the years to expand all of our hopes for a future built on tolerance.
Harper, Kenn. Give Me My Father’s Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo. South Royalton VT, Steerforth Press, 2000. Imagine the horror as Minik visits the Museum of Natural History and learns the true fate of his father. The next time you visit a museum, will you wonder about the exhibits, and the dark price sometimes paid to extend our understanding of ourselves and our world?
Lanier, Shannon. Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family. New York, Random House, 2000. Thomas Jefferson fathered two families—one black, one white, brought together by his determined young descendent--a story about family, a story about identity, a story about secrets revealed and history made complete.
Least Heat-Moon, William. Columbus in the Americas. Hoboken NJ, John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Was he a visionary and daring explorer, or a ruthless conquistador with dreams of riches and glory? Discover the truth behind the myth of a man whose impact still resonates through the continents he stumbled across.
Marrin, Albert. Terror of the Spanish Main, Sir Henry Morgan and His Buccaneers. New York, Dutton, 1999. What lies behind the dark and romantic image of the pirate, and what is the legacy of this brutal and bloody time?
McCullough, David. John Adams. New York, Simon & Schuster, 2001. He was a man of his times who transcended his times, and one of the least understood of the Founding Fathers.
Poets of World War II. New York, Library of America, 2003. They have been called the Greatest Generation, and in their own voices they reveal the true price of their call to arms.
Rogasky, Barbara. Smoke and Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust. New York, Holiday House, 2002. (revised, expanded edition) Some of history’s darkest days are examined in this new look at the horror and humanity of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Sagas of Icelanders: A Selection. New York, Penguin, 2001. Nordic epics open up a world of wonder and power, a Viking world of heroic adventure and discovery at the turn of the first millennium.
Starkey, David. Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. New York, HarperCollins, 2003. How one man’s matrimonial woes elevated a very disparate group of women to temporary positions of power changed the way a nation was ruled, and shook the foundations of the Catholic Church.
Tuchman, Barbara. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. (reissue) Castles and crusades, plague and famine, the glittering excitement of new ideas and discoveries and the agony and displacement of war—a time not unlike our own in its rhythms and dimension.
Ung, Loung. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. New York, HarperCollins, 2001. The perils of life under the brutal Pol Pot regime change a young woman’s life forever, as she and her family find themselves fugitives of war, without even their names to remind them of what they lost.
Von Drehle, David. Triangle: The Fire That Changed America. New York, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003. Beyond the terror, destruction and loss of life, this event changed the landscape of our cities and the lives of working people everywhere.
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars. New York, Scribner, 2001. The Legacy Project preserves the voices of soldiers and statesmen who lived through violent times that changed the course of nations. Listen to their stories in their words—they will inform and inspire you.
Watson, Peter. The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century. New York, HarperCollins, 2001 It was a time of marvelous optimism and belief in the perfectibility of man through science and new ideas. Explore the thoughts of the major players from Freud to Einstein, and events from Kitty Hawk to the distant reaches of the universe.
Weatherford, Jack. Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World. New York, Random House, 1990. Discover how profoundly the native peoples of North and South America influenced what we eat, how we trade, and our system of government.
Winchester, Simon. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883. New York, HarperCollins, 2003. When the earth’s most dangerous volcano exploded off the coast of Java, hundred foot waves flung ships inland, a rain of hot ash made temperatures plummet, the shock wave traveled around the world seven times, and 40,000 people died. The aftermath of this disaster saw the rise of radical Islam, civil unrest and a legacy of anti-Western militancy that continues today.
OBCBLL = Outstanding Books for the College Bound and the Lifelong Learner