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History for the Hard to Get (for)

10 Dec

I don’t know about your list, but mine has several names on it – mostly men’s names – that are really hard to buy for.  My solution?  History books. Not the dry dates and facts of high school history class, but an ever changing kaleidoscope of in-depth information on the many aspects of human history Pick your topic, decide whether it should be heavier on the pictures or the text, and browse away.

Consider one of these fine history books

A Secret Gift: How one man’s kindness – and a trove of letters – revealed the hidden history of the Great Depression

by Ted Gup (Penguin, 2010, hardcover $25.95)

An inspiring account of America at its worst — and Americans at their best — woven from the stories of Depression-era families who were helped by gifts from the author’s generous and secretive grandfather.  I picked this one up to skim it, and was immediately sucked in to the tales of hardship and grace echoing from nearly a century ago , that resonate more than ever in today’s economic climate.  Read More.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, 2010, hardcover $27.00)

This incredible story of survival and tenacity was one of my husband’s favorite books this year – he even said it was the best WWII story he’s ever read!  Unbroken follows the odyssey of Louis Zamperini, a former juvenile delinquent, an American Olympic athlete, and an Army Air Corps Lieutenant shot down over the Pacific Ocean in 1943, his survival in shark infested waters, his heartbreaking capture by the Japanese, and his indomitable will to survive in a prisoner of war camp.  True life adventure at its finest!  Read More.

The Retreat : Hitler’s First Defeat

By Michael Jones (St. Martin’s Press, 2010, $27.99)

The gripping history of the ferocious turning point of World War Two, when Hitler’s armies were halted on the Eastern Front.  Michael Jones is already the author of good books on Stalingrad and Leningrad. Now, he addresses the 1941-42 winter battle for ­Moscow, one of the decisive campaigns of the conflict. His is overwhelmingly a soldiers’ story, a vivid exploration of Soviet and German personal narratives.  Read More

Travelling Heroes In the Epic Age of Homer

By Robin Lane Fox (Vintage, 2010, paperback $17.00)

A celebrated classicist draws on the latest archaeological evidence, his own travels, and a lifetime’s knowledge of the ancient world to answer the question s of where the famous stories of the Greek’s ancient myths took place.  This acclaimed history explores how the intrepid Mediterranean seafarers of the 8th Century BC Greece encountered strange new sights and wove them into the myths of gods, monsters, and heroes that would become the cornerstone of Western civilization.  Read More

The Food of a Younger Land

By Mark Kurlansky (Riverhead, 2010, paperback, $16.00)

A portrait of American food – before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional, and tradition – from the lost WPA files.  Read More

I could go on and on (since I’m a bit of a history nut myself), but that’s all I have time for today!

Please enjoy your holidays, and remember to Shop Local!!!

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Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Book News, Books, Reviews

 

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