History: Primary Sources

The Secret of Raven Point

My memories of my late grandfather always involve the stories he told about his time in the army during World War II. I feel lucky that I was able to hear them before he died ten years ago. But did he talk only about the happy ones? What else did he experience that I will never know about? The Secret of Raven Point is a beautiful, moving story about a teenage girl who learns the hard way about the horrific nature of war and what it can do to people. I feel that this book deepened my connection with my own grandfather because it gave me a clearer glimpse of what he may have experienced, and why he needed to tell his story over and over.

The main character in the book, Juliet Dufresne, lies about her age, becomes a nurse and travels to the front lines in Italy when she receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted brother. She learns that he is missing and is desperate to find out what happened to him and whether he can be rescued. Meanwhile, she begins to work with a psychiatrist who is trying to prevent a patient who has experienced post-traumatic stress from facing court-martial for desertion in battle. The patient is so traumatized he cannot even speak. By coincidence, this same man may be the only one who knows what happened to Juliet’s brother, and helping the patient overcome his PTSD may be the only way to save him.

Myths and Common Fallacies

Have you ever wondered if what you were taught in school is completely wrong? Is blood really blue in the veins as it travels back to the heart like it is in textbook illustrations? Were Greek statues really colorless, boring decorations in the ancient world? By reading The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew you’ll learn that so much of the information that you think you know is factually inaccurate.

Did Marie Antoinette really say "Let them eat cake"? Did Columbus really discover that the world was round in 1492? Find out by reading more about common historical misconceptions like Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History or Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History.

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor: June 19, presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday June 19, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

The next Nerd Nite will be Thursday, June 19 at LIVE (102 S 1st St.). Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

This month, we'll consider the ethical system that governs the United Federation of Plants, the Prime Directive; hear some interesting/weird stories a researcher found while writing a book on Ann Arbor architectural history, and learn about a parasite that can literally manipulate the behavior of its human host!

Marcus Dillon - Prime Directive: The Ethics of Star Trek
Patrick McCauley - Obsessively Researching Historic Buildings, and the Weird Things You Find
Aric J Schultz - Meet your Puppet Master: Toxoplasma gondii

So show up, have a drink, meet other nerds, and learn a bunch of awesome new junk!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER (usually $5)!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us for the AADL + NNA2 Mashup!

Take a family adventure with Larry & Pete!

With summer fast approaching, the whole family can share in the fun of vacation planning with the help of the Larry Gets Lost Series!
These fantastic books have brightly colored, retro-like illustrations and great rhymes that take your family on a journey with Larry and Pete through the streets of Seattle, New York and Chicago, to name a few. In every book Larry the dog lets the tasty smell of local foods lure him away from his good pal Pete and spends the day exploring a new city in his quest to be reunited with his boy. The stories combine fun verse, geography and history to create a wonderful travel guide for children and adults alike!

Databases for the History Buff

A click on the aadl.org Research tab at the top of the page will introduce you to a wealth of databases covering such subjects as Car Repair, Literature, and Investing.

For those with a history interest, the databases are especially rich.

Start at the History and Biography Page and go from there. You'll find local history aadl.org-hosted sites like Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, Freeing John Sinclair, and Old News. An exploration of Other Sites reveals a yield so diverse, you can find, within minutes, the legend of the Birth of Hatshepsut, National Security discussions between Henry Kissinger and President Gerald Ford, a transcript of the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War, and the actual scanned pages of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from May 24, 1883 touting the Opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (click on "View" and then "View Item in PDF" to get the full article) along with the May 31, 1883 edition recording the subsequent, deadly Panic on the Bridge and much more.

The Newspaper section allows you to browse historical editions of the Ann Arbor News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others. If you know what you're looking for, you can easily track down such unusual items as the Washington Post's 1933 Obituary of Mrs. George A. Custer.

Let your love of history go wild and see what you can find.

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor: March 27, presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday March 27, 2014: 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults

For the last year, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

The next Nerd Nite will be Thursday, March 27 at LIVE (102 S 1st St.). Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

What topics are on tap?
Did you know about Michigan's own "Forgotten Woodstock," held less than an hour away back in 1970? Have you ever wished you could tell what the heck a tree was just by looking at it? Want to learn a little more about the most effective world revolutionary of all time? Nerd Nite Ann Arbor teams up with Ann Arbor District Library this month to bring curious folks all of this with absolutely NO COVER!

Mark Deming – The Goose Lake Rock Festival
Ben Connor Barrie – Barking Up the Wrong Tree: A Crash Course in Tree Identification
Michael Leonard – Thomas Paine: How the First World Revolutionary Fell from Fame and Became the Forgotten Founding Father (of both America and France!)

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

This month's event is NO COVER (usually $5), thanks to AADL's sponsorship!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us for the AADL + NNA2 Mashup!

Youth Biographies by Brad Meltzer

Author Brad Meltzer is known for his best-selling mystery novels, including The Book of Lies and The Inner Circle.

His latest books are for children! And they’re cool! It’s a series called Ordinary People Change the World and features biographies on some extraordinary folks that started out as ordinary, just like me and you. Check out the wonderfully illustrated I Am Abraham Lincoln and I Am Amelia Earhart. In these books young readers get to see famous faces from history doing fun things as children.

Hitler's Children

This moving documentary tackles what it means to have a negative family legacy, and how different descendants strive to overcome the guilt they feel for what their ancestors have done. It follows the children and grandchildren of Goering, Himmler, and Frank. They reminisce about their childhood and reflect on memories they have of their relatives. Their stories are riveting and have much to teach those of us who are familiar with history but may not have as much of a personal connection to the narratives that spring from that history.

Some descendants exile themselves like Bettina Goering, who now resides in the Santa Fe desert. The film shows her throwing a get together for friends and neighbors where she celebrates German heritage with traditional German food and music. One gets the impression that she is desperately trying to reclaim the good aspects of her cultural history. Others such at Niklas Frank (son of Hans Frank and Hitler’s godson), have devoted their lives to passionately speaking out against the crimes of their relatives. Frank travels around speaking about the atrocities his parents committed and fervently admonishes them.

If you are interested in this topic and wish to discover more stories and psychological effects of growing up with such relatives make sure to check out Hitler's Children the book, as well as Born Guilty and Legacy of Silence. Also, if you are interested in discovering more about your own family history be sure to check out the ancestry.com library edition that is available at your local AADL branch.

Amazon Teen Bestsellers: Rush Revere and the First Patriots

Apparently radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is trying to make American history come to life for young people, in a series of books about "time-travel adventures with exceptional Americans." The first book in the series is Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, in which Limbaugh created the character of a middle-school teacher named Rush Revere. In the second book, "Rush Revere and First Patriots," the character is transported back to the time leading up to the American Revolution. The second book currently is #9 on Amazon's list of Best Sellers in Teen and Young Adult Books.

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