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April helps you find the stuff you missed in history class

By Library Staff

I’m a huge fan of the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class.  I’ve listened to many episodes. My quest for knowledge grows with each new topic!  After listening to some of the podcasts, I decided I wanted to learn more! Our library has a great non-fiction collection, so I checked out (no pun intended) the following books to go along with a few of the podcast topics.

I love history and reading about historical events is one of my favorite pastimes.  The topics, while always interesting, can be distressing and difficult to read about. Two books that I’ve read so far relating to podcast episodes are Influenza: the hundred year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history, which is so well written it almost reads like a novel, and Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its legacy, which is filled with well researched information about the warning signs leading up to the uprising at Attica, the series of events during the uprising, and the aftermath.

I’ve also included a few other titles that may interest listeners of the podcast or freelance historians.

Influenza : the hundred-year hunt to cure the deadliest disease in history by Jeremy Brown, MD, MHS

"On the 100th anniversary of the devastating pandemic of 1918, Jeremy Brown, a veteran ER doctor, explores the troubling, terrifying, and complex history of the flu virus, from the origins of the Great Flu that killed millions, to vexing questions such as: are we prepared for the next epidemic, should you get a flu shot, and how close are we to finding a cure?"

Blood In The Water : the Attica prison uprising of 1971 and its legacy by Heather Ann Thompson

"Historian Heather Ann Thompson offers the first definitive telling of the Attica prison uprising, the state's violent response, and the victims' decades-long quest for justice—in time for the forty-fifth anniversary of the events."

A Season With The Witch : the magic and mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts by J.W. Ocker

"A single event in its 400 years of history--the Salem Witch Trials of 1692--forever changed the city's character and reputation in America. Salem has never left the shadow of those days but instead thrives as a haven of the bizarre and a modern outpost for the weird. Despite its year-round eldritch spirit, Salem is a seasonal town--and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to close to half a million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and ghosts (and their admirers) descend on Essex Street. For the fall of 2015, occult enthusiast J.W. Ocker moved his family of four to downtown Salem to experience firsthand a season with the witch, visiting all of its historical sites and macabre attractions. In between, he interviews its leaders and citizens, its entrepreneurs and visitors, its street performers and Wiccans, its psychics and critics. From these exchanges, he creates a picture oi this unique place and the people who revel in, or merely weather, its witchiness. Experience the thrills (and chills) of Halloween through the eyes of a curious and adventurous outsider in the city that has defined this day for generations."

The Trial of Lizzie Borden : a true story by Cara Robertson

"The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology--the trial of Lizzie Borden--based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence. The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple's younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone--rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople--had an opinion about Lizzie Borden's guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn't she? The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden's culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties."

The Miracle Of Dunkirk : the true story of Operation Dynamo by Walter Lord

"In May 1940, the remnants of the French and British armies, broken by Hitler's blitzkrieg, retreated to Dunkirk. Hemmed in by overwhelming Nazi strength, the 338,000 men gathered on the beach were all that stood between Hitler and Western Europe. Crush them, and the path to Paris and London was clear. Unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain would not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy, and in a week nearly the entire army was ferried safely back to England."