History & Politics

08/03/2016 - 9:43am
Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

Pamela J. Toler’s Heroines of Mercy Street is the true history behind the popular PBS series set in occupied Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. Caveat here: I did read the book before watching a single episode. I found Toler’s narrative to be engaging and an excellent window to the time. With wildly varying levels of training (many, such as Louisa May Alcott, had only nursed family patients while another trained with celebrated British nurse Florence Nightingale), they all had a sense of duty and enthusiasm for the job that did not wane as the war ground on—though it did exhaust them and occasionally kill them.

07/16/2016 - 1:41pm
A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

What would really happen if thousands of people died in a city every day from an illness? Even worse, a city with few to no hospitals and only a bare bones emergency infrastructure? When the illness might leave no mark on a person until he or she fell over dead in front of you? And that’s when you realize, you have been exposed and could be next. What would you do?

08/02/2017 - 3:19pm
If you liked The Da Vinci Code 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 the book matches here.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 
While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci—clues visible for all to see—yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret—and an explosive historical truth—will be lost forever. (catalog summary)

If you liked The Da Vinci Code read the other Robert Langdon novels:

Angels and Demons, Book 2The Lost Symbol, Book 3 Inferno, Book 4

If you enjoyed the Robert Langdon series, you may also like these titles:

The Codex by Douglas Preston

The Codex
by Douglas Preston

"Greetings from the dead," declares Maxwell Broadbent on the videotape he left behind after his mysterious disappearance. A notorious treasure hunter and tomb robber, Broadbent accumulated over a half a billion dollars' worth of priceless art, gems, and artifacts before vanishing--along with his entire collection--from his mansion in New Mexico. At first, robbery is suspected, but the truth proves far stranger: as a final challenge to his three sons, Broadbent has buried himself and his treasure somewhere in the world, hidden away like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. If the sons wish to claim their fabulous inheritance, they must find their father's carefully concealed tomb. (from the publisher)

 

04/13/2016 - 12:51pm
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette by Hampton Sides

It’s 1879, and Captain De Long and his 32 men receive quite the send-off on their way to explore the Arctic. Financed by an eccentric playboy newspaper publisher, they are as prepared as possible for the grueling years of making camp on ice floes, as well as winters of darkness and aching loneliness. Hampton Sides’ In the Kingdom of Ice sets down their story of trying to be the first to reach the North Pole—which they and much of the scientific community believe to be a warm sea.

09/15/2017 - 1:14pm
The Virginiana Room in the Fredericksburg Branch

A Welcome from Library Director Martha Hutzel:

“The CRRL is very happy to offer to the community a more spacious and attractive local genealogy room, complete with historical records, beautiful, museum-quality historical wall panels, an attractive work space and free computers and databases for research. Please stop by any time we are open!"
 

01/26/2016 - 9:45am
The Atlas of Mysterious Places edited by Jennifer Westwood

The Atlas of Mysterious Places is filled with wonder, adventure, and amazing photographs. A perfect book for an armchair explorer and dreamer, especially during these winter nights, it conjures landscapes of civilizations waiting to be rediscovered.

01/12/2016 - 12:03pm
The Lindberghs: First Couple of the Air

Most people today have heard of Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean. Fewer people these days are familiar with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, his wife, but, in the mid-20th century, they were both well-known in America and abroad.  

11/04/2015 - 2:24am
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

May 1893: The opening of the Chicago’s World Fair. The overall purpose of the celebration was to recognize the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in 1492. Designed by a group of talented architects, the fair attracted over 27 million people from 46 different countries, constructed over 200 new (but temporary) buildings featuring neoclassical architecture, along with large water pools and lagoons. The exposition became an emerging symbol of American Exceptionalism.

It also became a hunting ground for one of the first documented American serial killers, Doctor Henry Howard Holmes, better known as H.H. Holmes.

10/20/2015 - 3:16am
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

Some people today fear going under the surgeon’s knife. It’s mostly a dread of the unknown. What might happen while they are knocked out, unaware of what is going on around them. They may not realize how fortunate they are. In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, readers are swept back in time to a period before anesthesia was generally used. A good surgeon was a swift, careful cutter who could make the operation as mercifully short as possible for his wide-awake patient. He might even do some good for the patient in the process.

09/03/2015 - 2:37pm
After Appomattox: Civil War History Series at the Library

Ever wonder what happened after Lee's surrender to Grant that fateful day at Appomattox? Did everyone simply go back home and pick up their lives as they once were?

Three of the best historians from the National Park Service will present three different topics on three evenings at the HQ Library theater from 7:00-8:00. Each program is designed to give you information you may not have heard before and an opportunity to ask questions.

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