History, Biography, and Politics

Michael Farquhar delivers what his title promises, and more. Filled with the kind of gossip that drives sales of Us and People, on the people you were bored by in history class, Behind the Palace Doors also offers an analysis of the historical and psychological ramifications of royalty, both in the past and today. A fun read and fascinating study.

Reviewed by: 
Jocelyn
Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812979046
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - March 1st, 2011

What a hard-core story! I can't imagine growing up with such violent and brutal expectations placed on you by the man who is supposed to care for you and protect you. The struggles with his abusive father are just heart-breaking but his spirit and his determination are amazing and the book provides a fascinating look inside the Romany Gypsy world.

Reviewed by: 
Nici
Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780312622084
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - February 14th, 2012

Lions of the West is written by an award-winning historian, poet, and novelist who traces the lives of 10 early Americans that played significant roles in the country’s westward expansion. From Thomas Jefferson to Johnny Appleseed, Robert Morgan uses keen historical research to sharpen the stories of those whose visions pushed America to settle the frontier. With portraits, maps, battle plans, and honesty about the complexities of conquering land whether it be 1743 to the California Gold rush of 1849, Morgan has created a richly authoritative biography that reads like an epic novel.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Lions of the West: Heroes and Villains of the Westward Expansion Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781565126268
Availability: Backordered
Published: Shannon Ravenel Books - October 18th, 2011

After hearing Kennedy on NPR, I knew that he had that special something that meant he should be listened to. As a professor at a College of Criminal Justice, Kennedy brought in all kinds of speakers from Gang members to police officers to help his students gain understanding of the real-world facets of criminal justice and life. But after hearing the complexities and humanity in each speaker, Kennedy realized that it was crucial that he and his class not be the only one to hear this multifaceted view. Bringing together gang members, their families, community service providers, and the police in one place—an agreement was born that was dubbed Operation Ceasefire—the result was Boston city violence plummeted by almost two-thirds. This book explains the inside story of that first ‘ceasefire’ meeting and the importance and difficulty of implementing the program in other cities around the nation.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781608192649
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 27th, 2011

This book takes a close look at an incredible story that happened right in our area. In 2008, a series of lightning strikes ignited hundreds of fires across California, and one of those fires threatened the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Big Sur, a place accessible by a single unpaved road and particularly vulnerable to fire. The story of how the center was saved by those who lived and worked there will leave you on the edge of your seat, as well as teach you about the many ways that zen teachings can prepare you for a wildfire.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire at the Gates of Tassajara Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781594202919
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Press HC, The - July 7th, 2011

I spent about a week listening to the audio version of this book, and it helped me clean out my entire closet, wash several loads of dishes and fold countless socks. Mindy Kaling's intelligent, quirky and hilarious voice will help you to achieve anything you set your mind to, whether you listen to her or choose to read the book.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780307886262
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Crown Archetype - November 1st, 2011

Michele Norris of NPR’s All Things Considered set out to write a book about “the hidden conversation on race” that was taking place around the country since the election of President Obama. Norris was interested in the continuing phenomenon she felt when interviewing people about what they weren’t saying when race came up; people were being careful and she wanted to know why. Then, when interviewing her own family about race and silence, a family secret was revealed and suddenly Norris’s journey to understanding the complexity of racial legacy became a more immediate and intensely personal story. The Grace of Silence illuminates the ways that silence and revelation are deeply imbedded into how we have racial dialogue. I cannot get the ending words of this memoir out of my head, and nor do I want to. This is a beautiful, telling, and wonderful read.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
The Grace of Silence: A Family Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307475275
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - September 6th, 2011

In Juan Marichal, Marichal tells the story of his rise from living on a rural farm as a young boy in the Dominican Republic to becoming one of the great pitchers of all time. Marichal was a trailblazer for Latin American ballplayers in the major leagues, and here he shares for the first time his life experiences, stories from his Hall of Fame career, and views on the game today. The greatest pitcher in San Francisco Giants’ history never won a Cy Young award or a World Series, but his unique, high-kick pitching style was imitated by kids from New York to San Francisco to Santo Domingo, and it is immortalized in a bronze statue outside of the Giants’ ballpark.

Juan Marichal: My Journey from the Dominican Republic to Cooperstown Cover Image
By Juan Marichal, Lew Freedman (As Told by)
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ISBN: 9780760340592
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: MVP Books - October 7th, 2011

George has always been my favorite Beatle (not that you have to choose, but still. I choose him). This beautiful book pays homage to a great artist, songwriter, and human being, and features a collection of photographs (many taken by George himself), as well as stories told by some of his closest companions. It’s a must-have for any Beatles fan, no matter who your favorite happens to be.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
George Harrison: Living in the Material World Cover Image
By Olivia Harrison, Mark Holborn (Editor), Martin Scorsese (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9781419702204
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 27th, 2011

“With this stirring biographical history, Orlean follows up her bestselling The Orchid Thief with another tale of passion and dedication overcoming adversity and even common sense—this one centering on Rin Tin Tin, the German shepherd who founded a film and TV dynasty. After spending a lonely childhood in an orphanage, the young soldier Lee Duncan discovers on the battlefield of WWI France the puppy that will make a name for him as one of Hollywood’s top dog trainers, and become his life’s guiding purpose. The book follows Rin Tin Tin’s trajectory from early Hollywood’s ‘Poverty Row,’ where Duncan sought the dog’s first film deal, to international celebrity in silent films, radio shows, and TV programs.” —Publishers Weekly

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781439190135
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 27th, 2011

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