Story Tags

A People’s History of the United States

"Those Who Do Not Remember the Past...."

Nonfiction on forgotten or obscure American history

You’ve probably heard the George Santayana quote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Or maybe you’ve heard it as, “Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.” The following recommendations are focused on the history of the United States and include forgotten history, obscure stories, and potentially niche but fascinating historical facts. From the whitewashing of the American wild west to the creation of the United States Postal Service, every book here is about history you may not have learned in school.  

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay

This is What a Library Looks Like

Books about libraries.

When you think of a library what do you see? Do you picture a hushed building with musty shelves and leather-bound volumes? Yes, that’s accurate in some cases, but libraries can stretch beyond physical spaces; they stimulate intellectual curiosity, provide economic and physical relief, and perhaps most importantly, are intersectional institutions that embody a democratic and cooperative spirit.

The Plantagenets

English Royals and Their Families

Most of us get along pretty well with our immediate relatives. However, if you’re royalty, that might not be the case. Rivalry for the crown can create problems in the best of families, as the following books illustrate.   The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones

Algeria is Beautiful Like American

Bad Lands

Travels to Challenging Places

There are places that we are advised or warned not to travel to. There are places that are unstable. There are places that are downright dangerous and that should be avoided at all cost. Syria and Mali come to mind. Our Department of State keeps citizens abreast with its list of “Travel Advisories.” It’s usually a good idea to take a look at this service before embarking upon a trip outside the United States. I’ve selected a few graphic novels and one other book to highlight traveling to countries such as these.

Book cover for The Ghosts of Eden Park

Not-So-Modern Murder

Less well known historical True Crime

Fans of true crime and history have all heard of Jack the Ripper, Leopold & Loeb, the Black Dahlia, and H.H. Holmes thanks to the many famous articles, books and films about their horrors. But what if you’re looking for a story just as fascinating, troubling and rich with historical detail that may be more unknown to you? Be transported to depression-era Ohio, Victorian London, 1900s New York City and more with these lesser-known historical True Crime stories.  

Uncle Tom's Journey cover

Staff Picks: Forgotten Maryland History

Check out these local history books about the forgotten people and events in 19th century Maryland that shaped American history.  Copies are available to check out from the library system. Uncle Tom's Journey from Maryland to Canada by Edna M. Troiano

unmentionable

Those Wacky Victorians

Any historian will tell you not to judge the people of the past too harshly.  It takes some effort not to judge the culture of the Victorian era though. (At least how it was in Europe and the U.S.) Yes, the Victorian era saw incredible leaps forward in city life, science and culture, but a culture can't progress without making some pretty strange wrong turns. It's all so adorable, and WEIRD, that it's difficult not to laugh at them a bit.

In the Heart of the Sea

Survivor

Stories of humans vs. the forces of nature

Ice Cream: A Global History cover

The Heat Wave is Gone, but Next Comes August

Cool reads for hot summer days

Summer in adulthood can be hard. Most jobs don't include a three month summer vacation, it's blazing hot, and being in public sprinkler parks when you're not a child generally leads to some serious side-eye. Get through the worst of it with a tall glass of ice water and these chilly reads.

Black Tudors cover

From London into the Past, Part 2

Since I took my first trip to Great Britain three years ago, I've gone back twice to see more of the country as well as London. Below are additional titles that I've enjoyed to complement my original list in 2016. Copies are available throughout the library system.

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