History and Current Events
Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of... by Richard GergelWhat it's about: On February 12, l1946, African American veteran Isaac Woodard was beaten and permanently blinded by Batesburg, South Carolina police chief Lynwood Shull after a dispute with a bus driver.
What happened next: President Truman established the President's Committee on Civil Rights, which led to the desegregation of the U.S. armed services in 1948. After Shull was acquitted, Judge J. Waties Waring, who had presided over the case, dedicated the rest of his career to fighting racial injustice.
Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet by Will HuntWhat it is: a brisk, panoramic exploration of the history, science, and mythology of subterranean spaces, written by a self-proclaimed urban explorer and underworld enthusiast.
Featuring: Paris catacombs, Australian ochre mines, New York City subway tunnels, and Turkish underground cities.
For fans of: unique and offbeat travelogues.
Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated... by Larry LoftisWho it's about: Odette Sansom, a French woman recruited by England's Special Operations Executive to spy for Britain during World War II.
Is it for you? Readers who enjoy fast-paced histories that read like thrillers will find much to appreciate in this dramatic tale.
Don't miss: Sansom's relationship with her commanding officer is "the stuff of romance novels" (Publishers Weekly).
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David TreuerWhat it is: a vivid 125-year history of Native America that details the ways that tribes have survived -- and thrived -- in the face of adversity.
About the author: David Treuer is an Ojibwe novelist and historian who grew up on Minnesota's Leech Lake Indian Reservation.
Reviewers say: "A welcome modern rejoinder to classics such as God is Red and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (Kirkus Reviews).
Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight That Broke the Democratic Party by Jon WardWhat it is: a captivating account of the 1980 Democratic primary battle between sitting president Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy.
Did you know? Incumbent presidents seeking reelection have been challenged from within their own party "only a handful of times."
Why it's significant: Campaign tensions led to divisions within the Democratic party that continue to resonate.
Forgotten & Untold Histories
The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam by Jerry BrottonWhat it's about: the unlikely trading alliance between Elizabeth I of England and Sultan Murad III of the Ottoman Empire that was forged after Elizabeth's 1570 excommunication from the Catholic Church.
Read it for: a fascinating exploration of Eastern influences on Elizabethan culture, including the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe.
Who it's for: readers who enjoy immersive microhistories.
Here is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History by Andrew CarrollWhat it is: a rollicking coast-to-coast adventure exploring 50 overlooked historical sites.
Why you might like it: This concise page-turner offers plenty of surprising twists and a guide whose enthusiasm is infectious.
Fascinating finds: the New Jersey railroad stop where John Wilkes Booth's brother saved Abraham Lincoln's son from an accident; a sunken ship in the Mississippi River with a higher death toll than the Titanic.
The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America's Forgotten Black Pioneers & the Struggle for... by Anna-Lisa CoxWho it's about: the 19th-century black pioneers who established over 300 settlements in the Northwest Territory.
Featuring: Keziah and Charles Grier, who bought their own land in 1818 and became Underground Railroad conductors a few years later.
Book buzz: The Bone and Sinew of the Land was named one of Smithsonian's Best History Books of 2018; Booklist calls it "a moving and necessary corrective to American pioneer history."
Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe by Rebecca ErbeldingWhat it's about: the War Refugee Board (WRB), which was created by President Roosevelt in 1944 to aid thousands of European Jews.
How'd they do it? The WRB team smuggled supplies into concentration camps, forged identity cards, funded French Resistance efforts, and engaged in bribery and money laundering.
Author alert: Rebecca Erbelding, a curator at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, spent over ten years researching for this book.
Washington's Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course... by Patrick K. O'DonnellWhat it's about: the "Immortal 400" Maryland regiment that delayed the British during 1776's Battle of Brooklyn, enabling General Washington's successful evacuation of the Continental Army.
Why it matters: The Immortals' actions shaped the outcome of the Revolutionary War, but at great cost -- 256 perished during the battle.
For fans of: Band of Brothers and Frank Miller's 300.
Contact your librarian for more great books!