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Historical

  • Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

    The Sisters: the Saga of the Mitford Family: By Mary S. Lovell. This was a fantastic book about an absolutely astonishing family. The parents were middling British aristocracy. The daughters, however, include Nancy Mitford, a best-selling novelist; Diana Mitford, the great beauty who left her prominent husband for the head of the brownshirts (Fascists) and was a friend of Hitler’s; Unity, who also became a great friend of Hitler’s; and Jessica who eloped at 18, became a Communist, moved to America and also became a best-selling author. The youngest married a man who became Duke of Devonshire. Don’t bring it on a plane, as they would probably make you count it as a carry-on.

  • Sot Weed Factor

    The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth "a really hard read but worth it."  From Wiki:  A satirical epic set in the 1680s–90s in London and colonial Maryland, the novel tells of a fictionalized Ebenezer Cooke, who is given the title "Poet Laureateof Maryland" by Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore and commissioned to write a Marylandiad to sing the praises of the colony. He undergoes adventures on his journey to and within Maryland while striving to preserve his virginity. The complicated Tom Jones-like plot is interwoven with numerous digressions and stories-within-stories, and is written in a style patterned on the writing of 18th-century novelists such as Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne and Tobias Smollett.

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    The Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln -- "I'm about to read this NYT bestseller about Abraham Lincoln."

  • Thunderstruck

    Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen – "Larsen writes about parallel historical events, such as in Devil in the White City about the architects of the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893 and a serial killer who stalked women at the World’s Fair. In Thunderstruck he follows the first international dragnet involving wireless communication when a London murder is captured at sea through wireless technology invented by Marconi. He parallels this manhunt with Marconi’s rise from an inventor to a shrewd businessman."

  • Unbroken

    Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. By the author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend, this is a biography of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner who wound up an Air Force Lieutenant and prisoner of war in WWII. By all accounts I’ve seen, Unbroken reads like fiction – a “breathless” narrative style, in the words of the New York Times. Contributor comments: “I am not usually a nonfiction fan but this story is too amazing not to read. Laura Hillenbrand's story is pretty interesting as well. She lives DC and suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome.” … “Definitely not my usual pick but impossible to put down.”

  • Unwise Passions

    Unwise Passions By Alan Pell Crawford. "Riveting. The subtitle is 'A True Story of a Remarkable Woman---and the First Great Scandal of Eighteenth-Century America.' It’s an accessible biography, a potboiler but true story. I thought it was great fun.

  • Victoria's Daughters

    Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard. "Character studies of Queen Victoria's five daughters. Fun look at late 18th/early 19th century Britain. Queen Victoria considered the marrying off of her offspring to be one of her highest callings.  (And she was quite good at it.)"

  • Waiting for Snow in Havana

    Waiting for Snow in Havana By Carolos Eire. “This isn’t bad for the non-fiction types. It’s about a Cuban boy who is one of 14000 children who were flown out of Havana w/o their parents during the first years of the Castro regime.”

  • Why Women Should Rule the World

    Why Women Should Rule the World by Dee Dee Myers "A great case for why women should rule the world, with all kinds of examples and research to make the case. Not an attack on men, just what would happen in our society if the women were in charge, and the type of leadership they’d bring to the table. She also draws on her experience in the Clinton White House and tells a few stories.”

  • Wine and War: The French, The Nazis and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

    Wine and War: the French, the Nazis and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure By Donald and Petie Kladstrup. “I heard this was really good about 2nd WW and germans stealing wine from the french -- and more...”

  • World is Flat

    The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman. “Friedman makes highly accessible an understanding of how the technological revolution is changing our world and how it is not driven by large, anonymous corporations, but by individuals and innovation.”

  • Wreck of the Whaleship Essex

    The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex. By Nathaniel Philbrook. "He lives in Nantucket and is a fabulous writer - I love all his work. This is the true story of a nantucket whaleship attacked by a whale in the 1800s and how the crew survived. It is the story moby dick was based on. Melville came to nantucket to interview the captain. Its a great read - and historical. Always nice to actually learn some history while enjoying the pure ecapism of reading a great book!"