History & Politics

01/23/2017 - 10:34am
Civil War to Civil Rights: How African American Artists Engage the Past

Brought to us by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this presentation examines the multifaceted and highly politicized dimensions of “race” and American identity depicted in the artistic productions of African American artists. Our lecturer is Dr. Evie Terrono, Professor of Art History at Randolph-Macon College. Dr. Terrono will introduce us to artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, Kehinde Wiley, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others.  She will discuss how the transition from slavery to the Civil War to the Civil Rights period in the 1960s and 1970s can be viewed in their works.

The event will be at the Headquarters Library on Thursday, February 9, 7:00-8:00.

01/18/2017 - 12:09am
Cover to The Book of Spice: From Anise to Zedoary

If you like a good cooking show—and a good story—dive into John O’Connell’s The Book of Spice for a lot of kitchen knowledge, delivered with an English accent. From his first try at tandoori chicken at a family picnic, Mr. O’Connell was hooked on the beautiful differences spices could make.

As seasoned cooks know, spice is very nice, and there are certainly more of them available now, both online and in the supermarket. Indeed, there are so many herbs, spices, and blends that it’s a daunting proposition to select one to try out. Surely it would be better if you understood not only their uses but also their fascinating histories.

01/12/2017 - 11:56am
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

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.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. (catalog summary)
 

Have you read our Rappahannock Read, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly? If you have and you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include: history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.

 

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. (catalog summary)


 

01/04/2017 - 1:02pm
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

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.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage...not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves. From the underground hallways of power to the skyscrapers of Tokyo to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds. It is a battle for survival—a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius...an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the post-cold war balance of power. Forever. (catalog summary)

If you like technothrillers, like Digital Fortress, or thrillers in general, check out these titles as well:



9800 Savage Road: A Novel of the National Security Agency by M.E. Harrigan
In a tale inspired by events leading up to the September 11 attacks, a small team of intelligence analysts is horrified when satellite phone calls by Osama bin Laden are abruptly halted in the wake of a high-profile murder that marks the beginning of an escalating series of disasters. (catalog summary)

 

 

The Boost by Stephen Baker
Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the US government office that updates the software in the population's boosts—networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world's population. Invented by Chinese researchers in 2032, the boost is credited with leading humanity to its most significant cognitive leap since the discovery of fire. Days before a national upgrade, Ralf notices that the update includes an open surveillance gate—meaning that Americans, who had negotiated high levels of privacy with the Chinese manufacturers, will now be subjected to the invasive Chinese standard. Ralf attempts to hack the boost, but is caught by agents working for Washington's preeminent lobbyist. His boost is ripped from his head, and Ralf barely escapes with his life. Pursued by the lobbyist's mercenary cadre, Ralf flees to the US-Mexico border, where there are others like him—"wild" humans on the fringes of society, unenhanced by technology. It's a frightening and backward world controlled by powerful drug lords. Ralf's only hope is to somehow work with these wild bosses of the analog world—in hopes of winning back freedom in the digital one. (catalog summary)

 

12/28/2016 - 12:24pm
Duel With the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul Collins

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.

Looking for that perfect "whodoneit" book—but in non-fiction format? Check out these book titles. Next to the book titles are article links to the murder investigations.
 

Duel With the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul Collins (The First Murder Trial in the United States): Acclaimed historian Paul Collins' remarkable true account of a stunning turn-of-the-19th century murder and the trial that ensued—a showdown in which iconic political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr joined forces to make sure justice was done. (catalog summary)
 


Filthy Rich [a Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice That Money Can Buy : the Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein]
by James Patterson (Founder of J. Epstein & Co, convicted sex offender): Jeffrey Epstein rose from humble origins to the rarefied heights of New York City's financial elite. A college dropout with an instinct for numbers—and for people—Epstein amassed his wealth through a combination of access and skill. But even after he had it all, Epstein wanted more. And that unceasing desire—especially a taste for young girls—resulted in his stunning fall from grace. From Epstein himself, to the girls he employed as masseuses at his home, to the cops investigating the appalling charges against him, Filthy Rich examines all sides of a case that scandalized one of America's richest communities. (catalog summary)

 

12/19/2016 - 2:41pm
If you like Adult Suspense

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.

Thank you for requesting a book match! You said that you were looking for books like Lost Symbol, Congo, Timeline, and Angels and Demons. If you like those books, you may also like these books of page-turning suspense.




The Eight
by Katherine Neville
Computer expert Cat Velis is hired to recover the chess pieces of the Montglane Chess Service of 1790, they have the ability to endow anyone playing with them unlimited power. (catalog summary)


 



The Golden Hour
by Todd Moss
Stymied by infighting and turf battles after being appointed director of the new State Department Crisis Reaction unit, Judd Ryker attempts to prove himself during a coup in Mali that becomes a violent maelstrom of dominating personalities and shifting loyalties. (catalog summary)


 

12/01/2016 - 11:30am
The Godfather by Mario Puzo

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.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo
When Mario Puzo's blockbuster saga, The Godfather , was first published in 1969, critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of our time, and "big, turbulent, highly entertaining." Since then, The Godfather has gone on to become a part of America's national culture, as well as a trilogy of landmark motion pictures. From the lavish opening scene where Don Corleone entertains guests and conducts business at his daughter's wedding...to his son, Michael, who takes his father's place to fight for his family...to the bloody climax where all family business is finished, The Godfather is an epic story of family, loyalty, and how "men of honor" live in their own world, and die by their own laws. (catalog summary)
 

If you like The Godfather book series, check out these other titles as well:
 


The Black Dahlia
by James Ellroy
On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia-and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history.Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia-driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches-into a region of total madness. (catalog summary)

 



Blood on Snow: A Novel by Jo Nesbø
Oslo, 1970s. Olav, an extremely talented "fixer" whose unexpected capacity for love is as far-reaching as his talent for murder, works for Oslo's crime kingpin, "fixing" anyone who causes him trouble. But it's becoming clear to Olav that the more you know about your boss's business, the more your boss might want you fixed yourself, especially if you've fallen in love with his wife. (catalog summary)

 


 

11/29/2016 - 2:36am
Cover to Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm

When I was a child, Thalhimer’s meant shopping—Christmas shopping in Richmond. It was one of the last grand old department stores before shopping malls took over, and it got itself gussied up for the holidays. We might come home with bars of marzipan or hermit crabs but always with stars in our eyes. It was a place of sweet and inventive dreams. Little did we know that the store’s founder had played an important part in making dreams of safety come true for many Jewish teenagers in World War II.

Robert H. Gillette’s previous book, The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany, gave an overview of how Mr. Thalhimer managed it.  In Gillette’s current work, Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, readers learn the in-depth stories of two of the rescued teenagers.

11/09/2016 - 9:20am
Cover to Washington's Monument

The Washington Monument’s starkly simple design and imposing presence on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., both belies the complex machinations that led to its construction and embodies the singularity of George Washington, in whose honor it was erected.

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