Posts tagged with history

Sep 25 2023

Weekly Book Giveaway: Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann


This week's Book Giveaway is David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, a National Book Award Finalist and the inspiration for the upcoming movie of the same name. Obviously, this isn't the "fun" kind of Wordcandy, but I am very much looking forward to the idea that this movie adaptation might inspire more widespread awareness of the ongoing issues faced by...

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Oct 21 2019

Bloody Business, by H.P. Jeffers


I purchased my copy of H. Paul Jeffers's Bloody Business: An Anecdotal History of Scotland Yard solely because of its Edward Gorey-illustrated cover art. True Crime is not my preferred style of nonfiction, but I started flipping through the book one evening and found myself unexpectedly absorbed—for a small island, Britain has seen a lot of famous evildoing...

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Jan 3 2019

Original sources


This is fascinating, from The Guardian: "Spanish academic gets €1.5m EU grant to rescue 'women's writing'." Apparently, the European Research Council has given Carme Font, an English literature professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, a €1.5m grant to...

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May 1 2018



According to The New York Times, Zora Neale Hurston's first book, a nonfiction title called Barracoon, was rejected by publishers in 1931. Barracoon was the story of Cudjo Lewis, believed to be the last living person captured in Africa and brought to America on a slave ship...

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Mar 22 2018

Grim but intriguing


Esquire recently put together an list of the 25 best True Crime novels. True Crime isn't my favorite genre, but some of these books look intriguing (and a lot of the covers are great). I'm adding...

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Feb 12 2018

Weekly Book Giveaway: An Extraordinary Union, by Alyssa Cole


Continuing our month-long celebration of romance novels, this week's Book Giveaway is Alyssa Cole's historical romance/adventure An Extraordinary Union. I'm only about halfway through it, but thus far the romance stuff is fine, but a bit of a distraction from the A+++ spy action. A full review will follow shortly...

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Oct 24 2017

This woman's accomplishments merited a BIG tombstone.


I was listening to The Writer's Almanac today, and Garrison Keillor's soothing voice introduced me to the wonder that was Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor and poet who is widely credited with successfully campaigning to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Hale was also a major force behind...

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Oct 4 2017



I rarely use the website Thread Reader, but occasionally it's super useful. I was fascinated by this thread (by nonfiction author Jason Fagone) about Elizebeth Smith Friedman, a Shakespearean scholar-turned-codebreaker who spent decades working on some of the most complicated codes of the 20th century...

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Sep 12 2017



The Smithsonian magazine recently posted an interesting article about the history of book-burnings, and the motivations of the arsonists in question. That first picture (of a bunch of grinning Hitler Youth members, looking for all the world like cheery Eagle Scouts) is...

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Sep 7 2017

I hope their outerwear was top-notch


There's a great post on Atlas Obscura about the women who ran the The Pack Horse Library, one of the initiatives created as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. The Pack Horse Library was an organization of (overwhelmingly female) traveling librarians who rode their own horses or mules all over Appalachia, delivering books to remote households...

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Jun 27 2017

Books and booze


Well, I am just shocked, I tell you: according to Atlas Obscura, book clubs have always been focused on gossip and drinking, just as much (if not more) as they've been focused on reading...

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May 15 2017

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, by Michael Ruhlman


We mostly review fiction here at Wordcandy, but there are a handful of nonfiction topics we consider of universal interest: money, history, and (most of all) food. Michael Ruhlman's recent book Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America actually touches on all three of these subjects, so it's right up our alley...

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May 15 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, by Michael Ruhlman


It's been a while, so it's time for one of our rare nonfiction reviews: this week's Book Giveaway is Michael Ruhlman's Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America. (That's a biiiig subject for a short book, but whatever.) A full review will follow shortly...

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Feb 7 2017

Turn that angry squint to good account, Leo!


According to Entertainment Weekly, Leonardo DiCaprio will be starring in (and producing) an adaptation of Stephan Talty’s upcoming book The Black Hand, which sounds like it will be right up the actor's alley. Check out this plot summary...

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Feb 6 2017

Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell


Reading Sarah Vowell's 2011 book Unfamiliar Fishes is like skimming through a 230-page-long magazine article. It's a witty, easily digestible take on a fascinating element of American history—but I would have preferred less wit and more dry facts...

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Feb 6 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell


In times of politically-induced stress, I frequently find it soothing to read about the politically-induced stress of Olden Times. (Sometimes I need to be reminded that humanity is cockroach-level resilient.) So this week's Book Giveaway is Sarah Vowell's 2011 book Unfamiliar Fishes, about the American annexation of Hawaii in 1898...

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Aug 11 2016



According to the Independent, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a probable Dark Ages royal palace at Tintagel in Cornwall, which might (emphasis on the "might") have a connection to the legendary figure of King Arthur. According to medieval historians, Arthur was...

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Jul 30 2015

Gross, creepy, no thank you.


This is... discomfiting. Newsweek informs me that the College Board has bowed to conservative political pressure, and is revising their A.P. U.S. History standards to "emphasize American Exceptionalism"...

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Jun 25 2014

Bad Luck Girl, by Sarah Zettel


I was thrilled to receive my review copy of Sarah Zettel's Bad Luck Girl, the final book in her American Fairy Trilogy. Zettel had already produced two exceptionally creative, intelligent installments for this series (Dust Girl and Golden Girl), so I was crossing my fingers for a truly spectacular finish...

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Feb 4 2014

Awards season, comics 'verse


Publishers Weekly recently posted a nice summary of the 41st Festival International de la Bande Desinée in Angoulême, France. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson won the 2014 Grand Prix (basically a lifetime achievement award), despite the fact that he is extremely unlikely to...

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Nov 21 2013

Breaking off a piece of the historical drama action


According to the Christian Science Monitor, Robert K. Massie's biography Catherine the Great is being adapted into a "limited series" for ABC. The book was well-received by critics, so I'm assuming ABC is hoping for something a little more high-brow than the CW's Reign...

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Apr 30 2013

How To Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate, by Wendy Moore


Most of the critical coverage of Wendy Moore's How To Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and his Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate, a stranger-than-fiction account of the life of the 18th century radical Thomas Day, has focused on the biggest scandal of Day's life: his attempt to transform a 12-year-old orphan into his ideal of the perfect woman. This is totally understandable—that element of the story is pretty juicy...

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Apr 2 2013

Another show I will be skipping


I can't see any way for this to avoid being absolutely horrible, but maybe that's what makes for must-see TV: according to The Hollywood Reporter, FX is developing an "event series" based on Kim MacQuarrie's book The Last Days of the Incas, which focuses on...

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Sep 27 2007

The Dead Guy Interviews, by Michael A. Stusser


I still have my battered middle school copy of DK Publishing's Chronicle of America. It’s held together with duct tape and prayers, but I’m going to keep it forever. The Chronicle was a massive ...

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