Nonfiction DP Nightstand Event Titles

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , |

During this Fall’s “What’s on Your Nightstand” event, the following nonfiction books were discussed.

Remember, if Oakton doesn’t own the book or our copy is checked out,  you can order a copy to be sent from one of our consortium libraries for FREE! Most books take less than a week to arrive.

book cover for The ButlerThe Butler: A Witness to History
Wil Haygood

“From Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow Wil Haygood comes a mesmerizing inquiry into the life of Eugene Allen, the butler who ignited a nation’s imagination and inspired a major motion picture….

With a foreword by the Academy Award nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler not only explores Allen’s life and service to eight American Presidents, from Truman to Reagan, but also includes an essay, in the vein of James Baldwin’s jewel The Devil Finds Work, that explores the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, and fifty-seven pictures of Eugene Allen, his family, the presidents he served, and the remarkable cast of the movie” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Castaway Kid

Castaway Kid
R.B. Mitchell

“Rob Mitchell is one of the last “lifers” raised in an American orphanage. Left by a dysfunctional family in an Illinois children’s home, he grew up with kids who were not friends but rather “co-survivors.” After becoming a Christian as a teenager, Rob found what he was looking for, home and family, in a relationship with God. Rob was able to overcome his past, forgiving his relatives and forging healthy family relationships of his own” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Citizens of LondonCitizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour
by Lynne Olsen

“The acclaimed author of Troublesome Young Men reveals the behind-the-scenes story of how the United States forged its wartime alliance with Britain, told from the perspective of three key American players in London: Edward R. Murrow, the handsome, chain-smoking head of CBS News in Europe; Averell Harriman, the hard-driving millionaire who ran FDR’s Lend-Lease program in London; and John Gilbert Winant, the shy, idealistic U.S. ambassador to Britain.

Each man formed close ties with Winston Churchill—so much so that all became romantically involved with members of the prime minister’s family. Drawing from a variety of primary sources, Lynne Olson skillfully depicts the dramatic personal journeys of these men who, determined to save Britain from Hitler, helped convince a cautious Franklin Roosevelt and reluctant American public to back the British at a critical time. Deeply human, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, Citizens of London is a new triumph from an author swiftly becoming one of the finest in her field” (Enriched content by Syndetics).

book cover for The End of PovertyThe End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
by Jeffrey D. Sachs

“A respected international economic advisor and the director of The Earth Institute shares a wide-spectrum theory about how to enable economic success throughout the world, identifying the different categories into which various nations fall in today’s economy while posing solutions to top political, environmental, and social problems that contribute to poverty.

[The author] sets the stage by drawing a … conceptual map of the world economy and the different categories into which countries fall. Then … he explains why, over the past two hundred years, wealth has diverged across the planet in the manner that it has and why the poorest nations have been so markedly unable to escape the cruel vortex of poverty. The groundwork laid, he explains his methods for arriving … at a holistic diagnosis of a country’s situation and the options it faces. Rather than deliver a worldview to readers from on high, [the author] leads them along the learning path he himself followed, telling the … stories of his own work in Bolivia, Poland, Russia, India, China, and Africa as a way to bring readers to a broad-based understanding of the array of issues countries can face and the way the issues interrelate.

He concludes by drawing on everything he has learned to offer an integrated set of solutions to the interwoven economic, political, environmental, and social problems that most frequently hold societies back. In the end, he leaves readers with an understanding, not of how daunting the world’s problems are, but how solvable they are—and why making the effort is a matter both of moral obligation and strategic self-interest” ( Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Greater JourneyThe Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
by David McCullough

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring-and until now, untold-story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work.

After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light. Most had never left home, never experienced a different culture. None had any guarantee of success. That they achieved so much for themselves and their country profoundly altered American history. As David McCullough writes, Not all pioneers went west. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, was one of this intrepid band. Another was Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne because of a burning desire to know more about everything. There he saw black students with the same ambition he had, and when he returned home, he would become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life.

Two staunch friends, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse, worked unrelentingly every day in Paris, Cooper writing and Morse painting what would be his masterpiece. From something he saw in France, Morse would also bring home his momentous idea for the telegraph.

Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans launched his spectacular career performing in Paris at age 15. George P. A. Healy, who had almost no money and little education, took the gamble of a lifetime and with no prospects whatsoever in Paris became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of the day. His subjects included Abraham Lincoln.

Medical student Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote home of his toil and the exhilaration in being at the center of things in what was then the medical capital of the world. From all they learned in Paris, Holmes and his fellow medicals were to exert lasting influence on the profession of medicine in the United States.

Writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, and Henry James were all discovering Paris, marveling at the treasures in the Louvre, or out with the Sunday throngs strolling the city’s boulevards and gardens. At last I have come into a dreamland, wrote Harriet Beecher Stowe, seeking escape from the notoriety Uncle Tom’s Cabin had brought her. Almost forgotten today, the heroic American ambassador Elihu Washburne bravely remained at his post through the Franco-Prussian War, the long Siege of Paris and even more atrocious nightmare of the Commune. His vivid account in his diary of the starvation and suffering endured by the people of Paris (drawn on here for the first time) is one readers will never forget. The genius of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the son of an immigrant shoemaker, and of painters Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, three of the greatest American artists ever, would flourish in Paris, inspired by the examples of brilliant French masters, and by Paris itself.

Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens’s phrase, longed to soar into the blue. The Greater Journey is itself a masterpiece” (Enriched content by Syndetics).

book cover for Memories of MayberryMemories of Mayberry: A Nostalgic Look at Andy Griffith’s Hometown: Mount Airy, North Carolina
Jewel Mitchell Kutzer

“This is the first book about Andy Griffith’s real hometown. The author presents a one-of-a-kind look at the people and events during the era both she and Andy were growing up there, and reveals new insights into their hometown’s influence on the development of Mayberry and The Andy Griffith Show” (barnesandnoble.com).

book cover for The Most Beautiful Walk in the WorldMost Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris
John Baxter

“Thrust into the unlikely role of professional ‘literary walking tour’ guide, an expat writer provides the most irresistibly witty and revealing tour of Paris in years.

In this enchanting memoir, acclaimed author and long- time Paris resident John Baxter remembers his yearlong experience of giving ‘literary walking tours’ through the city. Baxter sets off with unsuspecting tourists in tow on the trail of Paris’s legendary artists and writers of the past. Along the way, he tells the history of Paris through a brilliant cast of characters: the favorite cafés of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce; Pablo Picasso’s underground Montmartre haunts; the bustling boulevards of the late-nineteenth-century flâneurs; the secluded “Little Luxembourg” gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; the alleys where revolutionaries plotted; and finally Baxter’s own favorite walk near his home in Saint-Germain-des-Prés” (barnesandnoble.com).

book cover for My Beloved WorldMy Beloved World
Sonya sontameyer

“The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself. She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life.

With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty.

Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Of Moose and MenOf Moose and Men: A Wildlife Vet’s Pursuit of the World’s Largest Deer
by Jeffrey Haigh

“Drawing on the author’s personal experiences with both tame and wild moose, this handbook contains a wealth of information about this unique animal from all corners of the world. An overview of moose biology is featured, including their specialized diet and the relationship between sex and antlers, where size really does matter. Covering the history of moose on earth and the marked fluctuations in populations that have occurred over time, this guide also contains accessible chapters exploring moose diseases, moose and traffic, moose as a resource, and the uses of live moose in several ways, ranging from transport and clothing to dairy animals and pets” (barnesandnoble.com).

book cover for Thomas Jefferson's Creme BruleeThomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America
By Thomas J. Craughwell

“In 1784, Thomas Jefferson struck a deal with one of his slave, James Hemings. The founding father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom. Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops so they might be replicated in American agriculture” (Enriched content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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