Posts Categorized: History

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Warrior of the People

November 11, 2016 Biography, History, non-fiction 4

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: A Warrior of the PeopleTitle: A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor
Author: Joe Starita
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: An incredible and engaging story, although written a bit simply.

Susan La Flesche was the first Native American to become a doctor, at a time when any female doctors were rare. She overcome many obstacles and made difficult personal sacrifices to serve her people. Her level of community involvement while in school and while serving as a doctor was almost unbelievable. She led a fascinating and inspiring life. Read more »

Divider

TLC Review: Hidden Figures

September 7, 2016 History, non-fiction 13

TLC Review: Hidden FiguresTitle: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: Wow, this was so good! Engaging, well written, clearly explained, inspiring.

I love discovering forgotten pieces of history and this is a great one, one that should be more well known. However, it will likely come as a surprise to most people to learn that the work of NACA (later NASA) during WWII and through the moon landing relied on the work of a large group of black, female mathematicians. These exceptional women made technical advances possible with their talent and drove social change with their optimism and determination. Focusing on four women who worked at NASA during this time period, Margot Lee Shetterly brings this story to life. Read more »

Divider

Review: From Silk to Silicon

April 9, 2016 History, non-fiction 14

Review: From Silk to SiliconTitle: From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives
Author: Jeffrey E. Garten
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a fascinating, whirlwind tour of the history of globalization, but would have been better if it were longer.

I’d describe this book as a microhistory, focused on the most influential people in the expansion of globalization. About 30 pages are devoted to each of ten influential individuals, from Genghis Khan to Andy Grove to Margaret Thatcher. Each had a large impact on history, but was also a product of their times and provided an interesting window into the era they lived in. Read more »

Divider

Review: Voices from Chernobyl

March 13, 2016 History, non-fiction 26

Review: Voices from ChernobylTitle: Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Author: Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an incredible, heartbreaking account.

Since I’ve been trying to read more translated books, I immediately added Voices of Chernobyl to my to-read list when author Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize last year. This is a collection of interviews with survivors of the Chernobyl disaster, relatives of survivors, and the many individuals involved in the reaction to the disaster. Read more »

Divider

Review – Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War

August 12, 2015 Biography, History, non-fiction 9

Review – Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear WarTitle: Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War
Author: Susan Southard
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was a difficult book to read, but incredibly well written and worthwhile.

I hoped to write a review of this book on August 9th, the 70th anniversary of the day an atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Unfortunately, life interfered, but this horrific event still deserves to be remembered today. Drawing on extensive interviews, the author is able to share the stories of five survivors, from the time of the bombing through the present. She also places their personal stories in the greater historical context, both leading up to the decision to use the atomic bomb and following the way the decision was presented afterwards. Read more »

Divider

Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward County

June 15, 2015 History, Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 8

Review: Something Must be Done About Prince Edward CountyTitle: Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County
Author: Kristen Green
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was an enjoyable book, but more autobiography than I expected and lighter than I would have liked.

In response to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed public schools rather that integrate their school system. They then started a private school exclusively for white children. This left many African American and poor white families with two options: send their children away or pull them out of school. Although author Kristen Green attended the local private school, she knew little about her hometown’s past and her own family’s role in the public school closings. Read more »

Divider

Review: Capital Dames

June 3, 2015 History, non-fiction, Review 18

Review: Capital DamesTitle: Capital Dames
Author: Cokie Roberts
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was such a fascinating look at women in history! I enjoyed it and learned a lot too.

I’ve always thought that history tends to focus on men because the sexism of the past meant that men really were the only ones doing things. Both I and the male-focused histories have been very wrong! Capital Dames tells the story of the women in Washington during the Civil War and the many varied and important roles they played in that conflict. Women involved in Washington society continued to influence politics throughout the war, while other women took on new professions, from journalism to making munitions. Read more »

Divider

So What’s the Deal With Bitcoins? A Review of Digital Gold

May 25, 2015 History, non-fiction, Science 11

So What’s the Deal With Bitcoins? A Review of Digital GoldTitle: Digital Gold
Author: Nathaniel Popper
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Like all my favorite narrative nonfiction, this book told a great story about fascinating people while teaching me something new.

If you’re like me before reading this book, you’ve heard of the digital money called Bitcoin only when it’s gotten negative press. Honestly, after hearing about many people losing the money they’d invested in Bitcoins, I thought this experiment was dead. I was still fascinated to learn about it though and especially about the people behind Bitcoin. As the subtitle indicates, this group included a wide variety of people, from millionaires to social revolutionaries, from hackers to drug dealers. Like most narrative nonfiction I love, it was the way the author told these people’s stories that made this a great read for me. Read more »

Divider

Nonfiction Book Recommendations: Mother’s Day Edition

May 7, 2015 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, Nature, non-fiction, Science 30

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit tired of all the Mother’s day book recommendation lists that focus on traditionally “girly” books. Many include no nonfiction, with the possible exception of a few memoirs, almost always by women. In order to do my bit to get rid of gendered genres, I’d like to recommend some fantastic nonfiction books on the basis of your mother’s possible interests, not just the fact that she’s a woman.

Divider

Can the Word Slut Be Reclaimed? My Takeaway From I Am Not a Slut

May 6, 2015 History, non-fiction 12

Can the Word Slut Be Reclaimed? My Takeaway From I Am Not a SlutTitle: I Am Not a Slut
Author: Leora Tanenbaum
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: This was an eye-opening book and I think it contains an important message, but it taught me less about different feminist perspectives than I’d hoped it would.

Blogging on any topic provides a platform for people to speak about topics they’re passionate about and the bloggers I read have inspired my interest in diverse reading, feminism, and a number of other important causes. I was also motivated to learn more about feminism by books I’ve read about women gaining and losing rights in other countries. Since I’m still relatively new to the many divided opinions about feminist issues, Leora Tanenbaum’s discussion of the word slut and the sexual double standard was a must read for me. Read more »

Divider