History and Current Events
Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster... by H.W. BrandsWhat it is: a fascinating peek into how the ideological tensions of post-American Revolution politicians led to the Civil War; a revealing examination of how bygone rifts continue to resonate in contemporary American politics.
Who it's for: chock-full of duels, debates, scandals, and betrayals, this riveting, character-driven popular history will appeal to readers of Douglas Brinkley and Stephen E. Ambrose.
An Unexplained Death: The True Story of a Body at the Belvedere by Mikita BrottmanWhat it's about: In 2006, newlywed Rey O. Rivera was found dead in a locked office in Baltimore's historic Belvedere building. The police ruled his death a suicide, but his loved ones cried foul play.
What happened next: Psychoanalyst and Belvedere resident Mikita Brottman began an obsessive decade-long investigation into the incident...and unearthed a possible conspiracy.
Why you might like it: This page-turning true crime account is both creepy and compelling.
American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGrealWhat it is: a compassionate, deftly researched examination of the medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry's culpability in America's staggering opioid crisis.
About the author: Guardian reporter Chris McGreal pulls no punches in his urgent and incisive debut.
Did you know? In 1908, physician Hamilton Wright, the United States' first opium commissioner, described Americans as "the greatest drug fiends in the world."
Beyond the Call: Three Women on the Front Lines in Afghanistan by Eileen RiversWhat it is: a riveting chronicle of the U.S. military's Female Engagement Teams (FET), deployed in Afghanistan to build relationships with Afghani women whose cultural traditions prohibited them from interacting with male soldiers.
What sets it apart: USA Today editor Eileen Rivers imbues this gripping narrative with welcome perspectives on the otherwise male-dominated field of combat, including insights on her own military service.
Queen Victoria's Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe by Deborah CadburyWhat it is: the captivating story of how, six decades into her rule, a scheming Queen Victoria began arranging marriages for her 42 grandchildren in an effort to extend constitutional monarchy and maintain political alliances throughout Europe.
For fans of: Downton Abbey, The Crown, and Victoria.
Try this next: For another enthralling book on Her Majesty's family relationships, check out Lucy Worsley's Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life.
The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith FlandersWhat it's about: Offering striking imagery and a strong sense of place, this colorful social history vividly recreates the London that Charles Dickens occupied: squalid, overpopulated, pungent, and loud.
Read it for: Judith Flanders' insights on how the rapidly transforming London informed Dickens' work (including how the meaning of the word "Dickensian" changed over time).
Reviewers say: "This is a superb portrait of an exciting, thriving, and dangerous city" (Booklist).
The Wicked Boy: An Infamous Murder in Victorian London by Kate SummerscaleWhat it is: a surprising "whydunit" that doggedly investigates the case of Nattie and Robert Coombes, who were charged with the 1895 murder of their mother when they were only 12 and 13 years old.
Book buzz: The Wicked Boy won the 2017 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Fact Crime Book.
Reviewers say: "a tragedy that reads like a Dickens novel, including the remarkable payoff at the end" (Publishers Weekly).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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