History and Current Events
The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington What it is: a deeply searing exposé detailing how a Mississippi medical examiner and a forensic dentist successfully gamed the criminal justice system to falsely imprison two innocent men.
Why you should read it: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist is timely in its examination of how professional misconduct, junk science, structural racism, and broken institutions deny justice to American citizens.
Jefferson's Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America by Catherine KerrisonWhat it is: a finely detailed portrait of Thomas Jefferson's daughters and the tumultuous times in which they lived.
Reviewers say: "Incisive and elegant, Kerrison's book is at once a fabulous family story and a stellar work of historical scholarship" (Publishers Weekly).
You might also like: Virginia Scharff's The Women Jefferson Loved, which explores how Jefferson was shaped by the women in his life.
The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to... by Charles C. MannWhat it's about: In this dual biography, award-winning author Charles C. Mann explores how scientists Norman Borlaug and William Vogt's contributions to -- and opposing views of -- modern environmentalism reflect the challenges of maintaining a viable future.
Why you should read it: Mann's stimulating account reveals the achievements of these overlooked contemporaries, masterfully examining both viewpoints without taking sides.
The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn SteilWhat it is: a lively and accessible survey of the historical, political, and economic impact of the Marshall Plan, a $13 billion postwar rebuilding effort that provided aid to Western European nations from 1948-1952.
About the author: Benn Steil is the director of international economics at the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations.
Reviewers say: The Marshall Plan "will be the definitive account for years to come" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine WeissWhat it is: a page-turning and uplifting chronicle of the women's suffrage movement, culminating in the struggle to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Why you might like it: Elaine Weiss dramatically conveys hair-raising suspense in a story where the outcome is already well-known, while also noting how echoes of suffragettes' compromises on racial equality are still felt today.
Focus on: The Holocaust and Resistance
Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter HayesWhat it's about: Historian Peter Hayes expertly synthesizes the circumstances that led to the Holocaust, utilizing numerous historical sources to dispel common misconceptions surrounding the atrocity.
What's inside: topical, rather than chronological, chapters, framed by complex and frequently asked questions about the Holocaust.
What sets it apart: Why? is the result of over three decades of research and presents a refreshing take on an exhaustively analyzed subject.
The Cost of Courage by Charles KaiserWhat it is: a nerve-wracking, remarkably rendered portrait of the Boulloche family, Parisian Catholics who bravely fought in the French Resistance during World War II.
About the author: Charles Kaiser, a former New York Times and Wall Street Journal reporter, is the first author with whom the Boulloche family has collaborated to share their astounding story.
Further reading: Stephen Grady's memoir Gardens of Stone, which recounts his boyhood in the French Resistance.
Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. MazzeoWhat it is: a gripping and succinct profile of the "female Schindler," Polish social worker Irena Sendler, who smuggled thousands of children out of the Warsaw ghetto and falsified paperwork to give them new lives.
Don't miss: Tilar J. Mazzeo reveals Sendler's smuggling strategies, which included hiding children in coffins and toolboxes.
Is it for you? Readers drawn to hopeful stories of courage and survival will find Irena's Children compelling.
Underground in Berlin: A Young Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Survival in the Heart of... by Marie Jalowicz SimonWhat it's about: Marie Simon, a Jewish Berliner, evaded arrest and deportation by hiding in plain sight and relying on the kindness of friends and strangers alike to stay one step ahead of the Gestapo.
Why you should read it: Poignant and unflinching, this memoir conveys the moral ambiguity of war-torn Berlin.
Further reading: Berlin at War, Roger Moorhouse's social history of Nazi Germany.
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy SnyderWhat it's about: In this provocative analysis of the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust, historian Timothy Snyder argues that the weakening of national states opens up the possibility of history repeating itself -- and for genocides like the Holocaust to happen again.
Who it's for: Readers familiar with Holocaust history and discourse.
Further reading: Snyder's critically acclaimed Bloodlands, to which Black Earth serves as a companion volume.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Des Plaines Public Library
1501 Ellinwood St.
Des Plaines, Illinois 60016