Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Inskeep’s JACKSONLAND

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 8.18.35 AMSteve Inskeep’s Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) rises to #51 on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the author’s appearances on Morning Edition (where he is the co-host) and on PBS NewsHour.

Inskeep’s history explores Jackson’s role in the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation as well as the brilliant efforts of Chief John Ross to stop him, using the tools of democracy and politics to protect Cherokee land. He sought white allies, brought suit in the United States Supreme Court (and won), and published stories in newspapers. Nothing, however, could stop the relentless expansion Jackson and white farmers sought.

In recognition of this history, Inskeep argues in an OpEd piece in the New York Times, that Chief Ross’s image should replace Jackson’s  on the $20 bill.

Inskeep discusses his book with NewsHour co-host Judy Woodruff at Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant/bookstore in Washington D.C.

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS Soar

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Causing the book ro rise to #7 on Amazon sales rankings and holds to grow, The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (S&S; S&S Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample), was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

The book, which come out tomorrow, is also reviewed by Janet Maslin in today’s New York Times.

Holds Alert: THE RESIDENCE

Monday, April 27th, 2015

9780062305190_e24b8Check your copies, Kate Andersen Brower’s The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) is a holds superstar with wait-lists growing into triple digits and holds ratios topping 5:1 across the country.

As we reported earlier, the book is a behind-the-scenes account of the staff that the runs the White House – from the Kennedy administration through the Obamas. It recently made the news due to its Clinton connection (dishy details over the Monica fallout).

The book is only going to get hotter with the news that Kevin Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street, (responsible for House of Cards, Captain Phillips, The Social Network), has bought the TV rights.

According to Politico, the plan for the show is to create:

… a modern and fictional 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue spin on Downton Abbey, wherein the White House’s butlers, stewards, maids and the like are the stars, often more committed to the mansion and upholding its historic traditions than to the family who lives there.

The book is currently #5 on NYT Best Seller list (down from #3 last week) but is rising on Amazon and out of stock at both Ingram and B&T.

According to the NY Post the juicy gossip is not limited to the Clintons, there are plenty of other revelations about Presidential behavior (good and salacious), first wives (Nancy Regan is called “spoiled rotten”), and first kids behaving badly.

It is also full of history and context and likely to prove irresistible on TV.

Nancy Pearl Moves to Nonfiction

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 9.44.31 AMAfter months of highlighting fiction on her weekly radio segment, librarian Nancy Pearl has a cache of recent nonfiction titles to suggest, starting with Christian G. Appy’s American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Penguin/Viking; Feb. 2015; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Asserting that “we teach history in the wrong way,” Nancy describes Appy’s book as “anything but a dry tome … [it] draws on popular culture, historical facts, everything from the Pentagon Papers to novels about Vietnam … you can see the research that he’s done and yet it all rests very lightly on the prose.”

She adds it would be great book club pick, “It’s going to elicit strong emotions, and I think it’s an important book.” Listen to the segment here.

The Huffington Post agrees, calling it “required reading for anyone interested in foreign policy and America’s place in the world, showing how events influence attitudes, which in turn influence events.”

For readers who want more on the  Vietnam War Nancy suggests Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie and David Halberstam’s The Best and The Brightest.

Nancy talks about a new book each week on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW.

DEAD WAKE Times Three

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

9780307408860_3b120One of the most-anticipated books of the season, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, (RH/Crown; RH and BOT Audio; RH Large Print) arrives next week. Known for his skill in spinning a great narrative from dimly-remembered bits of history, Larson tackles the story of the German sinking of the luxury liner the Lusitania, an act that eventually brought the US into WW I.

It gets triple advance coverage including the cover of Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, an early review from Janet Maslin in the daily New York Times and the main review in Entertainment Weekly’s Book Section (not online yet).

Surprisingly, both the Book Review and Entertainment Weekly find most fascinating the villain of the piece, the German U-boat commander who gave the order to torpedo the luxury liner, sinking it in 18 minutes and killing 1,200.

It will hardly matter that both Maslin and the Book Review report that this is a lesser book than the author’s previous titles. As Maslin says, “Larson is one of the modern masters of popular narrative nonfiction. In book after book, he’s proved adept at rescuing weird and wonderful gothic tales from the shadows of history.” Check your holds.

NPR also offers an “Exclusive First Read” and and interview with Larson is scheduled for the upcoming Weekend Edition Saturday.

Larson’s video, below, includes archival film of the Lusitania.

Later for IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Never underestimated the importance of the Oscars to a movie’s bottom line.

Just a few months after the release of the first trailer for Ron Howard’s adaptation of  Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea and the announcement of a March 13 release, comes a change in date to, you guessed it, one that falls right in the awards season sweet spot, Dec. 11, 2015.

As a result, the tie-ins are likely to be moved to a later release date.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex (Movie Tie-in)
Nathaniel Philbrick
Penguin, Trade Paperback Feb. 24, 2015
9780143126812, 0143126814

Audio: Feb. 24, 2015
Nathaniel Philbrick, Scott Brick
9781611763577, 1611763576

Holds Alert: WHEN BOOKS
WENT TO WAR

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.34.02 PM

A history about books, librarians, publishers, and war is making waves. Molly Guptill Manning’s When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; OverDrive Sample) tells the true story of how the book world helped boost morale by providing American soldiers with paperback editions of titles such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Great Gatsby.

Portable versions of these books allowed soldiers to read on their down time and reminded them of home and what they were fighting for.

Manning’s book is getting glowing coverage in an array of sources including USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and the Smithsonian. Such widespread attention triggers holds. Some libraries are showing a 5:1 ratio and on light ordering. The New York Times says that Manning’s book feels like “the bibliophile’s equivalent of It’s a Wonderful Life.” How can you beat that?

Best Seller Crystal Ball:
IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

9780385535373_8e8d4Expect to see In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Outside magazine’s Hampton Sides, (RH.Doubleday; RH Audio; RH Large Print) on this week’s best seller lists.

Based on newly-released documents, it tells the story of an ill-fated polar expedition, one that is less well-known than those of the Shackleton or Scott expeditions. Like those stories, says USA Today, “the struggles of DeLong and his crew to survive and work their way out of their dire predicament somehow make an even more compelling story than a hypothetical one of ultimate conquest.”

The book has received a string of enthusiastic reviews, including in The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. The author was interviewed on NPR’s Aug. 2nd Weekend Edition Saturday, causing it to climb Amazon’s sales rankings.

 A book trailer, gives an idea of the story, but for a taste of the writing, listen to a sample of the audio (hint: be sure to listen through to the end).

TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, Trailer

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

The trailer for a new adaptation of Vera Brittain’s classic WWI memoir, Testament Of Youth (1933) was recently released.

Alicia Vikander stars as Brittain in the film which is scheduled to open in January in the U.K. (the U.S. date has not yet been set).

Book-to-movie fans will be seeing a lot of Vikander, a Swedish actress, in the future. She has a supporting role in the upcoming Seventh Son (opening Feb. 6, based on Joseph, Delaney’s Revenge of the Witch), stars in Tulip Fever (based on the book by Deborah Moggach, currently filming), and has signed to star in The Light Between Oceans (based on the 2012 best seller by M.L. Stedman), as well as The Danish Girl, (based on the 2002 book by David Ebershoff),

Co-starring is Kit Harington (the heart-throb from Game of Thrones, he will also appear with Vikander in Seventh Son) as Brittain’s fiancé, who dies in the war).

 

Tonight’s Comedy Central Bumps

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

9781451668100_c7622   9780544274150_db311

On The Daily Show tonight, Jon Stewart will feature Helen Thorpe, the author of Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War,  (S&S/Scribner; Dreamscape audio), which follows three women soldiers’s deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan and their struggles on returning home. Prepub reviews are strong, with stars from both PW and Kirkus.

The Colbert Report hosts John Dean, a key player in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. In his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, (Penguin/Viking), he reflects on what he learned by listening to Nixon’s recently-released secret tapes of White House conversations. The book has been widely covered, including in a review in the Washington Post by a person very familiar with the story, Bob Woodward. Along with Carl Bernstein, he broke the story about the Watergate coverup.

Libraries have ordered modest quantities of each.

UNBROKEN Trailer Released

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The death last week of Louis Zamperini brought renewed attention to Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book about the Olympian and WWII hero, Unbroken, causing it to rise on best seller lists (from #88 on the USA Today list to #7).

A second boost is likely to come from the just-released trailer for the movie adaptation.

The L.A. Times says it “bears many of the hallmarks of an awards-season contender, including an inspirational true story, a potential breakout performance and a pair of Oscar-winning screenwriters…The trailer provides a glimpse of what looks to be a fierce performance from newcomer Jack O’Connell as Zamperini .”

Directed by Angelina Jolie, the movie opens on Dec. 25


A paperback edition, with new photos and an interview with the author, will be published later this month.

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Laura Hillenbrand
Random House: July 29, 2014
9780812974492, 0812974492
Trade paperback

BELLE, Book And Movie

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

On Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” in the new issue, the movie Belle, opening in NY and LAs tomorrow, and expanding into more theaters through May and June, is described as, “More emotional and affecting than your typical costume drama, this story about the orphan child of an English aristocrat and a slave unfolds beautifully.” The review goes on to make some intriguing comparisons, “like a Jane Austen novel spiked with an extra shot of social conscience … like Downton Abbey but with corsets, culottes and tricorn hats, Belle subtly skewers the absurd rules and hypocrisies of class.” (official web site, with trailer, here).

Based on a true story, it is directed by black female British director Amma Asante, who, keenly aware of how difficult it is to break into the film business, has insisted on diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

The lead actress is widely regarded as on the verge of a major career, with Entertainment Tonight, declaring, “Soon Everyone Will Be Talking About Gugu Mbatha-Raw.”

The tie-in is a an original paperback:

BelleBelle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice
Paula Byrne
Harper Perennial;  April 29, 2014
9780062310774, 0062310771
Paperback / softback
$14.99 USD / $18.50 CAD

In Production: TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

A feature movie based on the classic WWI memoir, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, began filming last week at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire, England, according to local news stories.

Just last year, 80 years after publication, the book was called “one of the most powerful and widely read war memoirs of all time,” by The Guardian. When it was published in 1933, it was “an instant hit,” and Virginia Woolf wrote in her diaries that she had to stay up all night to finish it. It’s pacifist message fell out of favor during WWII, but in 1978 the feminist Virago Press brought it back into print to great success. Today, notes The Guardian, “the book seems to strike a chord with contemporary readers who have themselves lived through an era of renewed conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The title role is being played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (whose breakout was in the supporting role of Kitty in Anna Karenina; she also starred in the Oscar-nomated Danish movie, A Royal Affair), replacing Saoirse Ronan, who was originally cast for the role.

The book is currently available in the U.S. in trade paperback from Penguin Books:

Testament of YouthTestament of Youth
Vera Brittain
Penguin Classics, 2005
9780143039235, 0143039237
Trade paperback $20.00 USD

On FRESH AIR

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Dancing Fish And Ammonites   Savage Harvest

Penelope Lively was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air (listen here) about her new book, Dancing Fish And Ammonites, (Penguin/Viking), which the 81-year-old author says is “not quite a memoir,” but rather “the view from old age.”

Today, the show features journalist Carl Hoffman on his new book Savage Harvest (HarperCollins/Morrow), with the long subtitle/annotation,  A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art. The author was also interviewed this past weekend on another NPR show, Weekend Edition Saturday. An excerpt of the book appears in the March Smithsonian Magazine.

ON NPR: FIVE CAME BACK

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

9781594204302Featured on Fresh Air yesterday was Mark Harris on his new a book about filmmakers in WWII, Five Came Back: A Story Of Hollywood And The Second World War, (Penguin Press; Recorded Books).

The author describes the shift in relationships between the film business and the U.S. government, “Hollywood and the federal government held a mutual suspicion of each other. But after Pearl Harbor, the War Department asked Hollywood directors to make short documentaries that could be presented in theaters before the featured films … to show Americans what was at stake, give them a glimpse of what our soldiers were going through and stir up patriotic feelings.”
Book of Hours

Coming today on Fresh Air, Kevin Young shares poems from his new collection, Book of Hours, (Knopf) about the death of his father and the birth of his son.