New in Nonfiction: Biographies

If you are a biography devotee – and there are many readers who are, as this literature genre is very popular and much loved – you might be especially interested in a few of the recently published collective biographies.

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katzis a story of the historical meeting of the heads of the governments of Great Britain, the USA, and Soviet Union, which took place in the Crimea in the final months of the Second World War. The narrative is viewed through the eyes of the daughters of leaders of the British and American delegations. Not only does the book portray each of these three daughters, but it also gives fascinating backstories of each of their father-daughter relationships, as well as interactions among these three young women. Based on very thorough research that used personal letters, diaries, and oral histories, the author creates a fascinating, entertaining, and well regarded story.

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade is a collective portrait of five revolutionary women, immensely talented and independent – Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L. Sayers among them – who lived, at various times, in the same square in London.

The author traces interconnections among the five women and their influence on each other’s work.

A combination of literary history and biography, the book is very well researched. Numerous anecdotes make for an amusing read, which received starred reviews.

Mad and Bad: The Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch.

Regency-era romance novels are a very popular genre of fiction, and in her book, Bea Koch captures a collective portrait of the most notable and trailblazing women of Regency England (1810-20), women who would become prototypes of historical romance novel heroines.  

The book reflects on the artistic and scientific accomplishments of these women: outlining biographies of the royally-connected, illuminating notable women of color, as well as Jewish women. The book is not only informative but is also fun to read.

Another recently published book of collective biographies is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aureliusby Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, which discusses the lives of 26 major ancient stoics, whose philosophy emphasized personal success and perseverance, and believed that courage, justice, and wisdom were the requirements for living a happy life.

Kirkus Reviews esteemed the book highly, saying, “At a time when public nobility is hard to come by, this is a good reminder of the power of ethical leadership.”

For those interested in political science, along with biographies, Abbot Public Library offers the following:

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hopeby Jon Meacham, which portrays the life of the recently-deceased Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Check this title out in print, book on CD, ebook, or e-audiobook format. 

Eleanorby David Michaelis is the first major single-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt in more than a half century. The work earned a good review from The NYT.

As always, these books are available in the library catalog, either in print or digital format,and sometimes both.

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, carefully read the instructions for reserving a copy and scheduling an appointment for Curbside Pickup.

Please note that Curbside Pickup will be unavailable from Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 1, as the building is having air duct cleaning and therefore staff will be unable to be in the building. We will resume Curbside Pickup services on Monday, November 2.

What’s New in Nonfiction Books: History

Recently, many distinguished, interesting, or even outstanding nonfiction books have been published; books that received starred reviews in leading newspapers and captured readers’ interest.

Here are some of the latest library acquisitions of history books.

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson is one of those books that is both hailed by the critics and also has attracted numerous readers.

Deeply researched, the book explores and examines the American caste system that has shaped the country through its history and demonstrates the effects of the system on the country’s culture and politics. You can read a splendid review in The New York Times.

Reserve the print book or book on CD for Curbside Pickup, or the ebook or audiobook on Overdrive.

Isabel Wilkerson is also the author of The Warmth of Other Suns (2010), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. Publication of Caste revived an interest in her previous work and placed The Warmth of Other Suns on hold shelves again.

Reserve the print book or Playaway (audio format) for Curbside Pickup, or read the ebook on Overdrive. 

also available as a hoopla audiobook

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein (in print and ebook format) is another book on American history. This is the fourth book by the author, which concludes a saga about the rise of conservatism in modern American politics. The others that come before it are Before the Storm (print and hoopla audiobook), Nixonland, and The Invisible Bridge. The author examines the four years of the Carter administration (1976-1980), and shows how that time period created a Launchpad for conservatism that is still alive today. The New York Times reviewed the book.

The 20TH Annual Massachusetts Book Awards were recently announced, and the books below received nonfiction Honors:

American Radicals: How 19th-Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson explores the turbulent history of the nineteenth-century political activism and activists. Many names are forgotten today, but those people were influential in their time, and their work is associated with reformers such as Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cody Stanton.

The book was named one of Ten Best History Books of 2019. Check it out in ebook or audiobook format. 

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter by Kerri K. Greenidge is a very well researched, meticulously documented, and well-written biography of William Monroe Trotter, a Harvard-educated Black radical, and the founder, editor, and publisher of the weekly Boston Guardian that launched in 1901. Written by a Tufts University professor, the book offers a fresh perspective on African-American history.

Check out Black Radical in print, Overdrive ebook, Overdrive audiobook, or hoopla ebook

And here is yet another history book, which explores a fascinating subject: the history of hurricanes.

It is a particular pleasure to introduce this book, written by Eric Dolin, who is a successful nonfiction writer and resident of Marblehead. The Abbot Public Library has hosted several of his book presentations, including talks about his books Black Flags, Blue Waters and Brilliant Beacons.

A Furious Sky is Dolin’s latest book, which earned him very positive reviews, including from The New York Times. The author chronicles the history of American hurricanes from the 16th century through 2017, discusses their nature, and traces the development of hurricane science. He reflects on the American history and shows how hurricanes impacted it.

Reserve A Furious Sky in print, book on CD, or ebook format. He will be speaking about this book at the local Jewish Book Month, sponsored by the JCCNS, which will be held online starting on Tuesday, October 6th!

Other books by Eric Dolin include:

All books are available in print format or digital, very frequently both. Browse Dolin’s books in the library catalog or on Overdrive or hoopla

The library’s digital nonfiction collection has grown significantly in the last few years, and even more so in the past 6 months. You can access the collection through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla with your library card.

Currently, almost every book published on paper is also available in digital format, as the library strives to satisfy public demand, and purchase books to appease diverse tastes and interests.

If you have a choice between print and digital formats, please know that digital books circulate much faster, since they cannot be kept overdue, and do not need to be quarantined. You can reserve print books to pick up in our Curbside Service – please read our instructions carefully about how to reserve titles and set up an appointment once all your items come in.