History & Politics

04/20/2017 - 2:17am
William Shakespeare: Scenes from the Life of the World's Greatest Writer

William Shakespeare is considered to be one of the most influential playwrights in literature. Over four hundred years ago, he lit up the stage at the famous Globe Theater in 16th- and 17th-century England with his lavish histories, comedies, and tragedies.

04/19/2017 - 2:16am
The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia: Seeking Truth at Rattlesnake Mountain

Author Jim Hall will present a lecture about his book at CRRL’s Headquarters Library on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at 7:00 PM.

The charred remains of Shedrick Thompson had not yet been cut from the tree from which he had been hanged before the controversy over his fate began. Thompson’s 1932 death was ruled a suicide by white authorities in rural Fauquier County, where Thompson lived and died. However, the local Fauquier population, white and black, knew that he had been lynched and his body torched. Thompson was the prime suspect in the severe beating of Henry and Mamie Baxley, a prominent local couple and Thompson’s landlords, who were viciously attacked in their home while their young son slept in the next room. Henry was knocked out cold by his attacker, and Mamie was dragged from the home and marched in the dead of night across several fields and into the woods where the assault continued. After the attack, Thompson vanished, most likely into the nearby foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where he had grown up. Despite numerous manhunts, his whereabouts would remain a mystery until two months later, when he died at the end of a rope on Rattlesnake Mountain.

04/17/2017 - 9:38am
If you like the Lost City of Z by David Grann

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless people perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called "The Lost City of Z." In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett's quest for "Z" and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century. (catalog summary)

The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American action adventure biographical film written and directed by James Gray. It stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, along with Robert Pattinson as his fellow explorer Henry Costin, and Sienna Miller as his wife Nina Fawcett. The film had its world premiere as closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the New York Film Festival. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 14, 2017. See the offical trailer for The Lost City of Z, below the book recomendations. 
 

If you like The Lost City of Z, check out these other adventure titles.
 

The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado by Charles Nicholl
The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado by Charles Nicholl

The first quest was Sir Walter Raleigh's futile search for the legendary city of El Dorado in the Venezuelan highlands in 1595; the second is the author's research and on-site investigations into the often murky particulars of Raleigh's expeditions. In 1595 Raleigh's fortunes were on the wane. His efforts at colonizing Virginia had failed, he had lost favor at the English court, and his finances had declined. Thus his search for the city takes on the stench of frenzied, cockeyed desperation. Comparisons are made with the ill-fated, half-mad efforts of Spanish explorer Aguirre, and they seem apt. (catalog summary)

 

04/12/2017 - 1:54pm
Joseph Pulitzer

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced April 10, at Columbia University in New York City. Some of the winners include: The Underground Railroad: A Novel, by Colson Whitehead (fiction); The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, by Hisham Matar (biography); Olio, by Tyehimba Jess (poetry); Sweat: TCG Edition, by Lynn Nottage (drama); Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond (general nonfiction); and Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, by Heather Ann Thompson (history). Check out all of the 2017 winners and finalists on our booklist

04/07/2017 - 2:07am
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse other book matches here.

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. (catalog summary)
 

If you like historical fiction like Lincoln in the Bardo, check out these other titles. Some are alternate histories and biographical fiction.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. (catalog summary)


 

04/04/2017 - 2:06am
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists

As an art student, Donna Seaman naturally studied artists of the past, thumbing through photographs and reading sketches of their lives and works. It didn’t take her long to figure out there was something wrong with these pictures. In too many, the male artists’ names were proclaimed, but the women, when they did appear, were simply listed as, “Identity Unknown.”

On a mission to make these women and their works known, Seaman did the research on seven whose art and lives were every bit as intriguing as their male counterparts. We meet the provocative sculptor Louise Nevelson, “The Empress of In-Between.” Her medium was wood, and she derived much inspiration from ancient cultures. The essay “Girl Searching” introduces Gertrude Abercrombie, whose specialty was edgy, emotional and autobiographical paintings. She cruised Chicago in her vintage Rolls-Royce and held jam session in her three-story Victorian brownstone, earning her title, “Queen of the Bohemian Artists.”

03/31/2017 - 9:03am
If you like The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman
The true story of how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Żabiński began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Żabińskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxe—and keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. (catalog summary)

The Zookeeper's Wife is a 2017 British-American war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl. The film is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017, by Focus Features. View the offical HD Trailer below the book recommendations.

Looking for a war-time drama like The Zookeeper's Wife? Check out these other titles.
 

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

At the center of A Blessing on the Moon is Chaim Skibelski. Death is merely the beginning of Chaim s troubles. In the opening pages, he is shot along with the other Jews of his small Polish village. But instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim, for reasons unclear to him, is left to wander the earth, accompanied by his rabbi, who has taken the form of a talking crow. Chaim's afterlife journey is filled with extraordinary encounters whose consequences are far greater than he realizes. (catalog summary)

 


03/20/2017 - 3:14pm
Julie Scelfo, Author of The Women Who Made New York, Returns to Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg native Julie Scelfo returns home to discuss her first book, The Women Who Made New York, in a partnered event with the University of Mary Washington's Program in Women’s and Gender Studies. You can meet Julie on Monday, April 10, at 7:00 p.m., at the Headquarters Library. The event will include a lively Q&A session followed by a book signing. If you want to read the book before the event, check it out from the library!

The Women Who Made New York is an illustrated work featuring stories of the remarkably talented and influential women who made the city perhaps the most distinctive and vibrant in the world.  

03/07/2017 - 9:53am
11.22.63 (Hulu TV Show)

On a brilliant and beautiful autumn day, shortly after noon in downtown Dallas, Texas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. As the President's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository, gunshots reverberated across Dealey Plaza. JFK died less than an hour later from fatal gunshot wounds to the back of his head and neck. The following day, Oswald was arrested, then shot in the stomach and killed by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner and JFK fan. 

03/06/2017 - 8:25am
If you like Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. Author of Hillbilly Elegy, J.A. Vance

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. (catalog summary)



Are you either waiting or finished with Hillbilly Elegy? Check out these similar titles to Vance's epic biography.

 

​Allegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill NullAllegheny Front: The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction Selected by Lydia Millet, authored by Matthew Neill Null
The deceptively powerful stories in Null's first collection, after his debut novel Honey from the Lion, create a map not only of the geography of rural West Virginia but also of its people. These are characters inhabiting places largely ignored by the outside world. In "Mates," a man kills an endangered bald eagle on his land, believing himself to be above the law, and is then stalked and tormented by the eagle's mate. In "Gauley Season," a group of ex-miners turn to operating rafting companies after their mining jobs disappear, but the promising new industry quickly leads to tragedy. The rugged lives of a group of log drivers in the late 1800s are chronicled in "The Slow Lean of Time." In the astonishing "Telemetry," a young scientist's camp on Back Allegheny Mountain is visited by a local man and his daughter, their presence forcing the scientist to confront her relationship to her own origins, which becomes a recurring theme in the collection. Violence is inevitable in these stories-guns are almost always present, and they aren't just decoration-but there is plenty of beauty, too. Landscape is an essential element, as well as the constant presence of wild animals, but Null focuses on the ways that a setting can shape how we identify with the world. The scope of the collection contains voices from multiple generations, and the result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a distinctive region of North America, as well as an exercise in finding the universal in the particular. (catalog summary)
 

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