Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Janice P. Nimura
Daughters of the Samurai

As a history buff, I enjoy reading history and, when I find an event that is new to me, it is doubly enjoyable.

In 1871, after being isolated for over 200 years, the Japanese government sent five young girls, ages 6 to 14, to America. They were to learn our ways and help nurture a new generation to lead Japan. Only three of the girls stayed for the ten-year journey. They traveled the country, learned English, and made life-long friends. Upon returning to a country that was now foreign to them, the three young ladies had many decisions to make.

The author has written a scholarly but very readable work covering the history of the Samurai in Japan, the opening of Japan to the Western world, and the education and life of three very strong and brave young women.

Check our catalog.

Jeanne S., Youth Services

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

As World War I entered its tenth month, transatlantic shipping was becoming a dangerous business. The German submarine fleet was doing its best to disrupt British naval traffic as well as any boats thought to be concealing troops and munitions bound for the war effort. Up to this point, civilian passenger ships and those from neutral countries were generally considered off limits, but Germany was determined to change the rules of the game. On May 1, 1915 the luxury liner Lusitania sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool with a record number of women and children aboard. It was considered the fastest ship on the seas and it was generally thought that it would be able to outrun any U-boat attack.

In Dead Wake, Erik Larson brings to life the story of the forces that lead to the ultimate demise of the Lusitania. The cast of characters ranges from captains of both the Lusitania and the German U-boat, to some of the colorful passengers, to President Woodrow Wilson as he tries to maintain American neutrality but is eventually led to declare war.  This was a very intriguing read about a subject that I remember as being touched on only briefly in history class as a trigger to U.S. involvement in the war. I highly recommend it. Check the catalog.

Sue A., Reference

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Friday, January 2, 2015
Denise Kiernan
Girls of Atomic City

      Oak Ridge Tennessee was a city built in a remote rural area of the south in only 6 months during World War II to accommodate a secret

      mission to help win the war.   At one point over 75,000 people lived and worked there and it used more electricity than New York  City. 

      However, the world outside did not even know the city existed until after two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.  This account weaves

       stories based on the voices of some of the women who worked there who were interviewed when in their 80s and 90s.  The book tells the

       human side and captures the spirit of the people who did not know the real purpose of their work. They only wanted to help end the war.   

       Check our catalog

Kathleen Zaenger, Administration

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photgraphs of Edward Curtis

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Timothy Egan
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

In 1900 renowned Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis began his life’s quest to chronicle the rapidly vanishing cultures of the North American Indians. He spent the next three decades traveling the American West and documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Through the patronage of men such as J.P. Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt, he eventually took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and made the first narrative documentary film. His obsessive dedication to his work came at great cost to his personal life. The long absences from home ultimately resulted in divorce and the loss of the portrait photography business that supported his family. He eventually died penniless and virtually unknown in Hollywood, just a few years after publishing the last of twenty volumes. Author Timothy Egan, winner of the National Book Award for The Worst Hard Time, does a masterful job of bringing this personal struggle to life.  Highly recommended! Check our catalog.

Sue A., Reference


The War of 1812 - DVD

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Brian McKenna
The War of 1812

Since we are remembering the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and I know I have ancestors who fought in it, I thought I would review my history.  This is a very well-done portrayal of the war events by the National Film Board of Canada.  The actors are fantastic, and the war is shown through the viewpoint of Native Americans, the British and Americans.  I like that it shows the war from all angles; not just the American view.  This is a 2 disc set divided into 4 parts, and has won numerous awards.  Catch up on a forgotten piece of history with this DVD - and make sure you watch the moving ending. Check our catalog.

Margaret, Reference

Family Tree Magazine

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is a good magazine!  There is a lot of solid information here for the newbie to genealogy and enough depth in the articles for those that already have some experience in this addictive hobby.  This magazine has articles for a wide range of researchers, as well as interesting stories and helpful hints for your ancestor quest.  It is also web oriented and has important search tips for online research.  I find something interesting in every issue.  If you're at all interested in genealogy this is a good place to start- but watch out you may get hooked!

Check our catalog!

Pat P.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Alexs Pate

Recently, my son checked out library materials regarding slavery as they were studying it in school. It brought to mind Amistad, which I had watched years ago. While I waited to get the movie thru MeL, I read the book by Alexs Pate that was based on the movie. At first, I was disappointed because I didn't feel like I was getting my normal reading enjoyment as the book was based on the movie vs. the other way around. I thought the author was taking short cuts in the imagery. The movie arrived; I love the performances of these powerhouse actors bringing this story to life. Having now read the book and watched the movie, I can tell you they are both worth your time. They tell the same story, but each in a different way using the strength of its medium. They tell the true story of a group of enslaved Africans that gain control of their ship and try to return home. This is the beginning of the tale; the other part is the political and legal maneuvering for justice and how it was instrumental in bringing us closer to civil war.

Cindy A., Circulation

Check Our Catalog for the Book

Check Our Catalog for the DVD




The Murder of King Tut

Thursday, February 11, 2010
James Patterson and Martin Dugard
This title captured my attention since I was in Egypt last year and I love reading James Patterson's novels. Halfway through I began to think it sounded a lot like history and lo and behold, looked at the spine and it is history. Something very different for Patterson but well researched and fascinating info about the King Tut era and also about Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon's discoveries and searches in the early 1900s. Patterson's books with short chapters make for a quick read. Fascinating history book.
Sue N., Youth Services

The Worst Hard Time

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Timothy Egan

I recently read the Livingston Reads 2008 book, The Worst Hard Time, the untold story of those who survived the great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan. I don't usually read history but this book grabbed me and I learned a great deal about the decade of the '30 and the terrible life of the people of the Dust Bowl. After I read the book, I checked out the DVD, Surviving the Dust Bowl and was amazed at how closely the DVD followed the book, even interviews by some of the same people. Both the book and the DVD present "the remarkable story of the determined people who clung to their homes and way of life, enduring drought, dust, disease- even death- for nearly a decade."

Sue, Youth Services

Check the catalog

River of Doubt

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This book is non-fiction but reads like a fast paced novel. You won't be able to put it down! A very interesting group of people embark on an exploration of the Amazon river with some disastrous results. The group includes American naturalists, a Catholic priest, a U.S. president and his son, a Brazilian general and more. They encounter near starvation, injuries, cannibals, and the fury of nature in their quest to map and explore the river. If you like adventure and history, you'll love this book.

Margaret, Reference


Follow Us on Twitter