Archive for the ‘Recommendations’ category

ELEPHANT COMPANY by Vicki Constantine Croke

September 6th, 2016

elephants“Billy” Williams went to British Colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in WWI, to a job as a “forest man” in the jungles of Burma for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant listener”.  Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant “school”  and “hospital”.  In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man.

But Elephant Company is also a tale of war and daring.  When Imperial Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite Force 136, operating behind enemy lines.  His war elephants would carry supplies, build bridges and carry the sick & elderly over treacherous mountain terrain.

Part biography, part war epic, and part wildlife adventures, Elephant Company is an inspirational narrative that illuminates a little-known chapter in the annals of wartime heroism.


GPL: 940.542 CROKE

ERUPTION: The Untold Story of Mount St Helens by Steve Olson

August 18th, 2016

EruptionFor months in early 1980, scientists, journalists, sightseers, and nearby residents listened anxiously to rumblings in Mount St. Helens.  Still, no one was prepared when an immense eruption took the top off of the mountain and laid waste to hundreds of square miles of verdant forests in southwestern Washington State and deposited ash in eleven U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. The eruption of Mount St. Helens transformed volcanic science, the study of environmental resilience, and, ultimately, our perceptions of what it will take to survive on an increasingly dangerous planet. Rich with vivid personal stories of lumber tycoons, loggers, volcanologists, and conservationists, Eruption delivers a spellbinding narrative built from the testimonies of those closest to the disaster, and an epic tale of our fraught relationship with the natural world.



GPL: 363.349 OLSON

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower

July 19th, 2016

the residenceDon’t we wonder what happens behind the scenes at the White House?  Kate Andersen Brower takes the reader to the private side of the White House with unprecedented access to the stories of the residence workers—dedicated professionals who orchestrate lavish state dinners; stand ready during meetings with foreign dignitaries; cater to the needs of the first family.

Now, for the first time, their stories of 50 years, 10 administrations, and countless crises large and small,are told in The Residence. This is a compelling read.

“Whether you’re a political or historical junkie or a devoted Downton Abbey viewer, this book adds unique context to our understanding of presidents as human beings.  Something that’s too often forgotten in our daily media grind.” [Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet The Press]

GPL 975.3 Brower

THE SOLOIST by Steve Lopez

June 14th, 2016

the soloistSteve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.  He sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and finds it impossible to walk away.  What Lopez begins to unearth about the mysterious street musician leaves an indelible impression.  Thirty years earlier, had been a charming, ambitious and promising classical bass student at Julliard until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by a mental breakdown.

Steve Lopez puts a face on mental illness and in doing so shows us how friendship can alter the lives of both the disenfranchised and those who reach out to them.  The Soloist is a poignant reminder that no life is insignificant.  An utterly compelling tale.


FORGOTTEN: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, At Home & At War by Linda Hervieux& dozens

June 8th, 2016

forgottenDrawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion and their families, “Forgotten” tells the tale of these heroic men whose contributions to one of the most extraordinary missions in modern history have been overlooked.

This is a book about African Americans who were in the invasion of Europe on D-Day.  This is a book about how they lived and were treated  before the war, during and after the war.

In England and other parts of Europe, these soldiers discovered freedoms they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens, and they would carry these experiences back to America, to fuel the budding civil rights movement.

“Forgotten” is an eye-opener for anyone.  Really.