History and Current Events
The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld by T.J. EnglishWhat it's about: José Miguel Battle, a police officer and Bay of Pigs veteran, fled Castro's Cuba in the 1960s to build a criminal empire, becoming a "Godfather" to Cuban exile communities and leaving a bloody trail in his wake.
Is it for you? True crime fans will enjoy this fast-paced saga.
Media buzz: Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro is set to play Battle in an upcoming film adaptation.
The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty by Mary HollingsworthWhat it is: a concisely written chronology of the famous family's 500-year history, featuring period art linked to the Medici (whether by patronage or portrayal).
Why it's significant: Revelatory and myth-debunking, The Family Medici reveals the extent of this banking family's desire for power and influence.
Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First... by Robert KursonWhat it is: an exhilarating account of the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon and the three astronauts who risked their lives to complete the mission, portrayed with dramatic storytelling flourish.
Want a taste? "Looking back down toward his spacecraft, Borman gave thanks to the scalded machine, an exquisite piece of design and daring."
Did you know? December 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission.
The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont; illustrated by Manjit Thapp What it is: an inspiring collection of 100 biographical portraits of trailblazing women throughout history, featuring anecdotes, trivia, and full-color illustrations.
Read it for: the "matron saint" names given to its subjects, a pithy nod to Catholic saint-of-the-day books and prayer devotionals.
Reviewers say: "A gloriously diverse, edifying, and curiosity-inspiring collection" (Booklist).
We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam WinklerWhat it's about: In this evocative and evenhanded legal history, Adam Winkler chronicles the relationship between corporations and the government, from the emergence of businesses in colonial America to the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.
About the author: Winkler is a constitutional law professor and legal commentator.
History in Graphic Novels
Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-VormWhat it's about: The Manhattan Project, completed in 1946, produced the first atomic bomb. Power struggles and ethics debates marred the relationships of the major players involved, and none could imagine the extent of the bomb's devastation.
Why you should read it: Stark and straightforward black and white illustrations unflinchingly convey the harrowing implications of the Manhattan Project.
For fans of: Jim Ottaviani's Fallout, the first graphic novel on the subject.
Economix: How Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures by Michael Goodwin; illustrated by Dan E. Burr What it's about: four centuries of economic history and theory, presented in thorough yet accessible chunks roughly the size of comic book panels.
What sets it apart: quirky, caricature-like art that helps the reader visualize dense concepts.
Further reading: Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein's two-volume Cartoon Introduction to Economics.
The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey; illustrated by Aaron McConnellWhat it is: an earnest and entertaining history of the Constitution's development and implementation, including an illuminating discussion of each article and amendment.
Art alert: Surreal, inventive illustrations imagine the three branches of government as people with landmarks for heads (for instance, the legislative branch has a Capitol Building head).
March. Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell What it's about: Congressman John Lewis's early life and origins in the civil rights movement, during which he served as one of the first Freedom Riders and helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Art imitates life: Lewis relied on a popular comic book of the time, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, to inform his efforts in the Nashville Student Movement.
Book buzz: The third book in this powerful three-volume memoir series won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
Mary Astor's Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward SorelStarring: actress Mary Astor, who became a tabloid sensation following her highly publicized affairs and subsequent trial for custody of her daughter.
Don't miss: Cartoonist Edward Sorel explores his longtime fascination with Astor by imagining an interview between the two.
Read it for: excerpts from the diary in question (in which Astor graded her extramarital affairs).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
Des Plaines Public Library
1501 Ellinwood St.
Des Plaines, Illinois 60016