Archive for the 'history' Category

The Wordy Shipmates

Monday, December 15, 2008

shipmatesBy Sarah Vowell

The Wordy Shipmates is New York Times-bestselling author Sarah Vowell’s exploration of the Puritans and their journey to America to become the people of John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill”-a shining example, a “city that cannot be hid.”

To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but Vowell investigates what that means- and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and-corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance. Along the way she asks:

• Was Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop a communitarian, a Christlike Christian, or conformity’s tyrannical enforcer? Answer: Yes!
• Was Rhode Island’s architect, Roger Williams, America’s founding freak or the father of the First Amendment? Same difference.
• What does it take to get that jezebel Anne Hutchinson to shut up? A hatchet.
• What was the Puritans’ pet name for the Pope? The Great Whore of Babylon.

Sarah Vowell’s special brand of armchair history makes the bizarre and esoteric fascinatingly relevant and fun. She takes us from the modern-day reenactment of an Indian massacre to the Mohegan Sun casino, from old-timey Puritan poetry, where “righteousness” is rhymed with “wilderness,” to a Mayflower-themed waterslide. Throughout, The WordyShipmates is rich in historical fact, humorous insight, and social commentary by one of America’s most celebrated voices. Thou shalt enjoy it. (Description from Call number: F7 .V69 2008

Monarchy With David Starkey – Set 2

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The English Crown is one of the oldest surviving governing institutions in the world, and historian David Starkey is among its most erudite and energetic chroniclers. In this splendid documentary series, Dr. Starkey presents the complete history of British royal rule from the Dark Ages to the early 20th century. Filmed on location in castles, churches, and battlegrounds, it’s a vivid tapestry of bloodshed, betrayal, power, and passion. This second set from the series — which debuted on Britain’s Channel 4 in 2004 before airing on public TV stations States-side — covers the 1660s through the early 20th century and includes: “The Return of the King”; “The Glorious Revolution”; “Rule Britannia”; “Empire”; and “Survival.” Call number: DA28.1 .M662 2007

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I Remember Nelson

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

nelsonDirector: Simon Langton Cast: Kenneth Colley, Geraldine James, Tim Pigott-Smith

Kenneth Colley stars in this four-part miniseries (originally produced for British television) which dramatizes the life and adventures of England’s best-known naval officer, Lord Horatio Nelson. I Remember Nelson chronicles the great man’s life by telling his story as seen by several people who were close to him: his wife, a handful of good friends, a young soldier who served under him in a crucial battle, and his first officer. I Remember Nelson was aired in the United States as part of the award-winning anthology series Masterpiece Theater. Call Number PN1992.8 .H56 I23 2008

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April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, JR.’s Death and How It Changed America

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

april4By Michael Eric Dyson

On April 4, 1968, at 6:01 PM, while he was standing on a balcony at a Memphis hotel, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and fatally wounded. Only hours earlier King—the prophet for racial and economic justice in America—ended his final speech with the words, “I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”
Acclaimed public intellectual and best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson uses the fortieth anniversary of King’s assassination as the occasion for a provocative and fresh examination of how King fought, and faced, his own death, and we should use his death and legacy. Dyson also uses this landmark anniversary as the starting point for a comprehensive reevaluation of the fate of Black America over the four decades that followed King’s death. Dyson ambitiously investigates the ways in which African-Americans have in fact made it to the Promised Land of which King spoke, while shining a bright light on the ways in which the nation has faltered in the quest for racial justice. He also probes the virtues and flaws of charismatic black leadership that has followed in King’s wake, from Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama. Call Number E185.97 K5 D96 2008

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Chicago 10 (2007)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

chicago10Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Nick Nolte Director: Brett Morgen

Some documentaries endow historical events with context, while others recreate them in all their messy glory, leaving viewers to organize the chaos themselves. Brett Morgen (co-director, The Kid Stays in the Picture) takes the latter tack in his multi-media reconstruction of the protests during 1968’s Democratic National Convention. Using the ensuing conspiracy trial as a framing device, he assembles archival footage and animated sequences into a Rorschach-type pattern (the title refers to the eight defendants and their attorneys). Call Number KF224 .D37 C55 2008