History and Current Events
Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense: The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy by Dan Abrams and David FisherThe plaintiff: GOP leader and New York state politician William Barnes, who sued a fellow Republican for libel in 1915.
The defendant: Barnes' friend turned rival, former president Theodore Roosevelt, whose accusation of corruption spurred the case.
The verdict: dramatic and suspenseful, this "fine and timely legal drama" (Booklist) examines resonant issues of political influence and overreach.
The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 by Rick AtkinsonWhat it's about: the first two years of the American Revolutionary War and the stakes for both sides of the conflict.
About the author: Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson is the author of the Liberation Trilogy, which begins with An Army at Dawn.
Series alert: The British are Coming is the vivid 1st entry in the extensively researched Revolution Trilogy.
The Ghost Ships of Archangel: The Arctic Voyage That Defied the Nazis by William GerouxWhat it is: the gripping, little-known story of PQ-17, the Allied convoy tasked with delivering supplies to the Russian port Archangel.
What happened: On July 4, 1942, four of PQ-17's ships separated from the convoy, braving treacherous ice fields to dodge the German bombers and U-boats rapidly closing in on them.
For fans of: military histories and white-knuckle cat-and-mouse games.
Spying on the South: An Odyssey Across the American Divide by Tony Horwitz1852: Reporter Frederick Law Olmsted tours the American South to cover the region's growing divisions on the eve of the Civil War.
2014: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz (who died in May 2019) retraces Olmsted's steps, juxtaposing his own commentary with his predecessor's to highlight the ways the South has changed -- and the ways it hasn't.
Don't miss: Horwitz's adventures in period-authentic transportation, including steamboat, coal barge, horseback, and mule.
Chasing the Moon: The People, the Politics, and the Promise That Launched America into the... by Robert Stone and Alan AndresWhat it's about: Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, this fast-paced history chronicles America's efforts to win the space race.
TV buzz: Chasing the Moon is the sweeping companion to the PBS American Experience series of the same name premiering on July 8th.
Try this next: Shoot for the Moon by James Donovan; Apollo's Legacy by Roger D. Launius.
Cults and Secret Societies
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff GuinnWhat it's about: the horrific descent of charismatic small-town pastor turned cult leader Jim Jones, who in 1978 led 918 of his Peoples Temple followers into taking their own lives before he took his own.
Want a taste? "Bodies everywhere, seemingly too many to count, innumerable heaps of the dead."
Book buzz: The Road to Jonestown was a 2018 Edgar Award Finalist for Best Fact Crime.
The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors by Dan JonesWhat it is: an engaging account of the Knights Templar, the order of holy warriors established in 1119 and violently destroyed two centuries later.
Read it for: the well-researched separation of fact from myth, including discussions of enduring legends and conspiracy theories about the order.
Why you might like it: accessible prose makes The Templars a fascinating read for both general readers and fans of medieval history.
Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That... by Tom StantonWhat it is: a dual narrative of Detroit's tumultuous 1930s, which saw the concurrent rise of two dramatically different organizations: World Series hopefuls the Detroit Tigers and Ku Klux Klan offshoot Black Legion.
Starring: a colorful cast of characters, including Tigers manager Mickey Cochrane and baseball-loving Black Legion operative Dayton Dean.
Who it's for: sports fans and true crime aficionados.
The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the Deadliest Secret... by Stephan TaltyWhat it's about: the Italian crime organization Black Hand's reign of terror in early 20th-century New York City and the efforts of NYPD officer Joseph Petrosino, the "Italian Sherlock Holmes," to stop them.
Movie buzz: Leonardo DiCaprio will star as Petrosino in a future film.
Try this next: William Oldfield and Victoria Bruce's similarly fast-paced history Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society, which chronicles a Midwestern postal worker's attempts to take down Black Hand.
Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter by Lis WiehlWhat it is: a propulsive account of the infamous 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders orchestrated by Charles Manson and carried out by members of his "family."
Chapters include: "Alternative Scenarios," which discusses some of the more bizarre theories about the killings -- was the mafia involved?
What sets it apart: Former federal prosecutor Lis Wiehl utilizes her ample legal expertise to incorporate new research, exclusive interviews, and parole hearings into this "must read" (Library Journal).
Contact your librarian for more great books!