New Books on History

There's something for everyone in our most recent batch of selected new history books; U.S. Presidents, World War II, Mesopotamia and much more. Take a little trip back.

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An American Phoenix: the remarkable story of William Skinner, a man who turned disaster into destiny, by Sarah S. Kilborne
This new book traces the rise, fall and improbable comeback of a leading founder of the American silk industry, offering insight into how William Skinner's considerable knowledge and business acumen rendered him a millionaire and helped him to rebuild after losing everything in a devastating flood.

Click for availability and more information Citizen Soldier: a life of Harry S. Truman, by Adia DePace Donald
Depicts the life of America's 33rd president, from his impoverished start with his farming family, through enlisting in the army in 1917 and numerous failed business ventures to beginning a political career in Missouri that ultimately led to the presidency.

Click for availability and more information Double Entry: how the merchants of Venice created modern finance, by Jane Gleeson-White
Double Entry takes the reader from the ancient origins of accounting in Mesopotamia to the frontiers of modern finance. At the heart of the story is double-entry bookkeeping: the first system that allowed merchants to actually measure the worth of their businesses. It fueled the Renaissance, enabled capitalism to flourish, and created the global economy. John Maynard Keynes would use it to calculate GDP, the measure of a nation's wealth. Yet double-entry accounting has had its failures. With the costs of sudden corporate collapses such as Enron and Lehman Brothers, and its disregard of environmental and human costs, the time may have come to re-create it for the future.

Click for availability and more information The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by David G. Coleman
On October 28, 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba. History has marked that day as the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a seminal moment in American history. As President Kennedy's secretly recorded White House tapes now reveal, the reality was not so simple. Nuclear missiles were still in Cuba, as were nuclear bombers, short-range missiles, and thousands of Soviet troops. From October 29, Kennedy had to walk a very fine line--push hard enough to get as much nuclear weaponry out of Cuba as possible, yet avoid forcing the volatile Khrushchev into a combative stance. Using new material from the tapes, this book puts readers in the Oval Office during one of the most highly charged, and in the end most highly regarded, moments in American history.

Click for availability and more information Foundation: the history of England from its earliest beginnings to the Tudors, by Peter Ackroyd
In the first entry of a planned a six-volume epic, noted historian Peter Ackroyd takes the reader from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. With extraordinary skill for evoking time and place and an acute eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd recounts the story of warring kings, of civil strife, and foreign wars. He also gives a vivid sense of how England's early people lived: the homes they built, the clothes they wore, the food they ate, even the jokes they told. All are brought vividly to life through the narrative mastery of one of Britain's most respected writers.

Click for availability and more information Ike's Bluff : President Eisenhower's secret battle to save the world , by Evan Thomas
Upon assuming the presidency in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower came to be seen by many as a doddering lightweight. Yet behind the bland smile and apparent simple mindedness was a brilliant, intellectual tactician. As Evan Thomas reveals in his provocative examination of Ike's White House years, Eisenhower was a master of calculated duplicity.Facing the Soviet Union, China, and his own generals, some of whom believed a first strike was the only means of survival, Eisenhower would make his boldest and riskiest bet yet, one of such enormity that there could be but two outcomes: the survival of the world, or its end.

Click for availability and more information Master of the Mountain : Thomas Jefferson and his slaves , by Henry Wiencek
In this controversial reassessment of Thomas Jefferson, prominent historian Henry Wiencek states that Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the "silent profits" gained from his slaves--and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited. We see Jefferson taking out a slave-equity line of credit with a Dutch bank to finance the building of Monticello and deftly creating smoke screens when visitors are dismayed by his apparent endorsement of a system they thought he'd vowed to overturn. It is not a pretty story.

Inflammatory or groundbreaking?

Click for availability and more information The Pope's Jews: the Vatican's secret plan to save Jews from the Nazis , by Gordon Thomas
This account of how the Vatican saved thousands of Jews during WWII shows why history must exonerate "Hitler's Pope." Accused of being "silent" during the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII and the Vatican of World War II are now exonerated in Gordon Thomas's newest investigative work, The Pope's Jews. Thomas's careful research into new, first-hand accounts reveal an underground network of priests, nuns and citizens that risked their lives daily to protect Roman Jews. 

Click for availability and more information Rome's Last Citizen : the life and legacy of Cato, mortal enemy of Caesar, by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni
An in-depth portrait of statesman and aristocratic soldier Marcus Porcius Cato traces his life against a backdrop of period terrorism, a debt crisis and a fractious and drama-prone ruling class, describing his defense of sacred Roman traditions and his contributions to early christianity.

Click for availability and more information Soldaten: on fighting, killing, and dying: The Secret World War II transcipts of German POWs, by Sönke Neitzel
A compendium of previously unpublished, transcribed conversations among German POWs, secretly recorded by the Allies and recently declassified, offers insight into the mindset of World War II German soldiers and is complemented by analyses by a renowned social psychologist.

Click for availability and more information Some girls, some hats and Hitler : a true love story, by Trudi Kanter
In 1938 Trudi Kanter, stunningly beautiful, chic and charismatic, was a hat designer for the best-dressed women in Vienna. She frequented the most elegant cafés. She had suitors. She flew to Paris to see the latest fashions. And she fell deeply in love with Walter Ehrlich, a charming and romantic businessman. But as Hitler's tanks rolled into Austria, the world this young Jewish couple knew collapsed, leaving them desperate to escape. In prose that cuts straight to the bone, Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler tells the true story of Trudi's astonishing journey from Vienna to Prague to blitzed London seeking safety for her and Walter amid the horror engulfing Europe. It was her courage, resourcefulness and perseverance that kept both her and her beloved safe during the Nazi invasion and that make this an indelible memoir of love and survival. Sifting through a secondhand bookshop in London, an English editor stumbled upon this extraordinary book, which has now been re-issued.

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This page contains a single entry by Stephen published on October 25, 2012 4:48 PM.

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