Category Archives: History

The Darkest Jungle

In Todd Balf’s book The Darkest Jungle, he explains that by 1854, after the spectacular and expensive failure of the Franklin expedition, the search for the Northwest Passage was sliding off the front pages. The new great hope was Panama. … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction, Travel/ Exploration | 4 Comments

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

The well-known and much-beloved Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder began their life as a single-volume autobiography. In the process of seeking a publisher for the autobiography, Wilder’s daughter, the writer Rose Wilder Lane, realized that parts of it … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction | 13 Comments

Suffragette: My Own Story

Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1903. The group had a single focus: Votes for Women. And they were willing to do whatever they had to to get that vote. They spoke up against those who … Continue reading

Posted in History, Memoir, Nonfiction | 14 Comments

Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit was the biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, getting more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But no one would have been able to predict it. He had short, crooked legs, a “sad tail,” and a pedigree that … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 19 Comments

Elizabeth and Hazel

David Margolick’s book, Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock, revolves around the by-now iconic civil rights photograph of two fifteen-year-old girls:           This photo, taken by journalist Will Counts, shows Elizabeth Eckford, one of … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction | 12 Comments

Persian Fire

Tom Holland introduces Persian Fire, his amazingly great book about the war between the Persian Empire and Greece, by pointing out that questions about these factions, these ways of being, and these cultures are still relevant today. Osama bin Laden … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 6 Comments

Louisa May Alcott

I’ve posted here before that the book I’ve re-read most in my life is probably Little Women. I started reading it when I was about ten or eleven, and I’ve read it over and over since then, understanding it differently … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, History, Nonfiction | 20 Comments

Wartime: Britain 1939-1945

I know a lot about World War II from the scholarship I do. I’ve read a tremendous amount of history and literature about it, especially from the French and German perspectives. Before this, though, I’d never read a history of … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nonfiction | 14 Comments

The Shahnameh: Sekandar and the Succession

The second half of the Shahnameh begins with the story of a king who, instead of being descended from the Persian royal lineage, came from the Rumi (foreigners — in this case the Greeks) and conquered first Egypt, then Persia. … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, History | 2 Comments

The Shahnameh: The First Kings through Rostam

Every summer for several years now, I’ve tried to reserve some time and space to read one or two Really Long Classics. This summer, after reading Gogol’s Dead Souls (which wasn’t actually very long), I decided to read the Shahnameh, the … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, History | 5 Comments