History

The Secret Rooms

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The Secret Rooms: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a Plotting Duchess, and a Family Secret Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143124733
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Penguin Books - December 31st, 2013

Downton Abbey this is not, yet neither is the mystery concealed in the gothic castle quite the horror story one expects.  Bailey does a magnificent research job in her quest to go through the copious amounts of never seen letters and material belonging locked away at Belvoir Castle in the early twentieth century and discover exactly what the then Duke of Rutland was trying to conceal.  The lengths this branch of the aristocracy were willing to go to in order to preserve their lineage is a tale of 'class obsession, hypocrisy and constipated emotion' and the narrative is peopled with fascinating characters capable of more depth and deception than Masterpiece Theatre often provides.

 

Susannah


Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, by Paul Koudounaris

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Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9780500251959
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Thames & Hudson - October 8th, 2013

Worth it for the pictures alone, scholar Koudounaris fleshes out a strange little corner of Catholic history- that of the skeletal remains of martyrs that were dressed and ornamented as a response by the Catholic Church to the Protestant Reformation. Read about the skeletons, what they meant to the communities that hosted them and how they ended up. Fascinating!

Marie


Double Cross

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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307888778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 14th, 2013

Ben Macintyre’s latest history of WW2 espionage might be his best. The story of the six double agents and the spymasters who helped launch the D-Day invasion is a fascinating, harrowing and often funny page-turner you won’t forget. If you loved Agent Zigzag, Double Cross is a must-read, an unbelievable true story written in Macintyre’s characteristic entertaining and addictive style, with romance, tragedy and farce all rolled up together.

Marie


1775:A Good Year for Revolution

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1775: A Good Year for Revolution Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143123996
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2013

How and why did the farmers, hill people, city lawyers, wealthy plantation owners and other completely disparate peoples - some  of them extremely contrary - join the American revolution?  It's a complex, fascinating story, way beyond the handy school version, and Phillips has done a superb job of laying it all out.  A valuable addition to the ongoing historical record.


Gary


The Hub's Metropolis

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The Hub's Metropolis: Greater Boston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth Cover Image
$37.95
ISBN: 9780262018753
Availability: It's Complicated--Contact Us for More Info
Published: Mit Press - March 22nd, 2013

Somerville rowhouses, huge building lots in Weston, stately homes along Comm. Ave. in Newton -- there's a reason for every aspect of the Boston area's built environment. Read about the accidental and deliberate design decisions that led to the region we know today, and then go see for yourself, using the walking tour suggestions throughout the book.

Sarah


Bunker Hill

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Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution Cover Image
$32.95
ISBN: 9780670025442
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Viking Books - April 30th, 2013

Philbrick’s clear and entertaining prose brings an old story to life. Live with our patriots and marvel at their heroism and foibles. Washington, Warren, Knox, Bunker Hill, Breed’s Hill and Battle Road. Loyalists, Generals, Admirals, and mad King George. Boston occupied and under siege! Enjoy and marvel at the exploits as Philbrick enthralls us – again!

Jane Jacobs


The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China

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The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780809030750
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Hill & Wang - April 9th, 2013

Culminating in 1900, the technologically superior European powers (and Japan) essentially helped themselves to rotting Qing Dynasty China, so arrogantly that a groundswell peasant army (surreptitiously supported by the Empress) finally attacked their crypto-colonizers, resulting in several battles, sieges and international diplomatic shenanigans. A great narrative of a major puzzle piece of the Great Game of empire and hegemony.

Gary


Agent Zigzag

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Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307353412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - August 12th, 2008

Agent Zigzag is about a singular character who rose to the occasion for crown and country at a crucial time in history. Recruited by the Germans to spy on the British, career criminal Eddie Chapman turned on them to  become one of Britain’s most valuable assets. A combination of character study and action adventure combining espionage, adventure, true crime, love, World War 2 and more in a gripping, page-turning package, Chapman’s story has never been told with more verve.


Marie


The Fall of the House of Dixie

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The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781400067039
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House - January 8th, 2013

It's satisfying to dip into the ongoing stream of historical Civil War literature and be able to say "This is a good one!". Levine looks into the Confederacy's complex subcultures, classes and motivations and comes up with some fascinating fresh  insights, as well as succinct renderings of pertinent battles and campaigns.


Gary


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