Archaeology for Kids

Looking for a book on archaeology for children that is packed with detailed information, fabulous photographs, and a link to an educational website? Pick up a copy of The Usborne Introduction to Archaeology : Internet-Linked here at the AADL. Even without access to the internet, this book is a complete reference work on its own. Readers will learn about archaeological techniques (like dendrochronology and thermoluminescence dating), and a variety of archaeological sites around the globe. Explore Teotihuacan, ancient Persepolis, Harappa, Mesa Verde, and Egypt's Valley of the Kings, just to name a few. Access to the internet will link you to Usborne's educational website where you can take virtual tours of famous ancient sites, follow finds from discovery to restoration, participate in activities like unwrapping a virtual mummy, or follow links to other great archaeology sites for kids like the American Museum of Natural History's ArchaeOlogy: Clues from the Past.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #175

In Zoë Klein's debut novel Drawing in the Dust*, 39 year-old American archeologist Page Brookstone is asked to risk her professional reputation and personal safety when a young Arab couple begs her to excavate beneath their home in Anatot, Israel, claiming that it is haunted by the spirits of two lovers.

When Page discovers the bones of the deeply troubled prophet Jeremiah entwined with that of a mysterious women name Anatiya, she must race against the clock to translate Antalya’s diary found nearby, before enraged religious and secular forces come into play.

Parallel the ancient love story is the contemporary one of Page and Mortichai - an engaged, half-Irish Orthodox Jew, that "raises a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery".

Zoe Klein, a rabbi, lives and works in Los Angeles. She has written for Harper's Bazaar and Glamour magazines, and appeared as a commentator on the History Channel program Digging for the Turth .

* = starred reviews

Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #3

civil warcivil war

Historian Bruce Catton, born in Petoskey, received a Pulitzer and a National Book Award for A Stillness at Appomattox, the third volume in his trilogy about the Civil War. His description of the hours leading up to the end of the war, when Grant and Lee finally meet, deftly captures the humanity and inhumanity of it all.

His excellent narrative style often focused on regimental histories and first person sources instead of only recounting what the generals did. Historians Shelby Foote, Ken Burns and Stephen Ambrose followed in his footsteps popularizing American history.

The first volume of the trilogy, Mr. Lincoln’s Army, includes General George McClellan’s rise and fall and the Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, the first day of which is the single bloodiest day in American military history with estimated casualties of 23,000.

Bruce Catton wrote many books about the Civil War and Michigan history, browse the available titles at Catton Titles.

Let's Hear it for the Boys

On July 21st, 1959 the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Grove Press, the publisher of now-classic works such as D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch and my personal favorite, Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. At that time in history, books considered obscene due to graphic sexual content or language were often forbidden from being published in the United States and other parts of the world. It took years of struggles and trials for books such as those above to be granted protection under the constitutional right of freedom of speech.

Look for a book soon to be added to our collection, 1959:The Year Everything Changed by author Fred Kaplan (also columnist for Slate), that discusses the trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover in more detail. And today - celebrate Lawrence, Burroughs and Miller!

Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #2

robert falcon scottrobert falcon scott

With the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS), a U.S. space-based radio navigation system that provides reliable positioning, navigation and timing services, the exciting history of voyages of discovery and famous explorers is fading from the public eye.

Le Photographe (The Photographer)

The French graphic novel Le Photographe (The Photographer) by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frederic Lemercier has finally been published in the U.S. by First Second with translation by Alexis Siegel. It is the late photographer, Didier Lefevre's, story of his travels with Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) to Afghanistan in 1986. Guibert incorporates Lefevre's photos (he went through some 4000 taken in the 2 months he was there) as well as his own artwork to tell the harrowing story of which Lefevre barely survived. More importantly the novel is about the daily life of the people of Afghanistan who face disease, famine, brutal weather and of course the brutality of war. The courage of the MSF when going into war ravaged areas to perform major surgery or having to ask the Russian doctors for assistance for instance is a big part of this story. All in all an incredibly gripping story with the photos and artwork only adding to the intensity of each scene. Guibert is a well-known French artist. His Alan's War (also just recently published in the U.S.) is an Eisner nominee for best new graphic novel and yet another excellent biography.

Yankee Air Museum's Randy Hotten: "How Detroit Saved the World: World War II and the Willow Run Story”

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Wednesday July 8, 2009: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

The Yankee Air Museum's Randy Hotten shares his extensive research on the Willow Run Bomber Plant. He is the Director of Flight Operations at the Yankee Air Museum as well as a Board Member and Committee Chair of the Long-Range Planning Committee. He also flies as a pilot with the Yankee Air Museum in the C-47 and the B-17.

Randy will cover the world and national events leading up to the decision to involve the auto industry in the construction of airplanes for WWII and ultimately to build the Willow Run Bomber Plant. He is a retired US Navy Captain, who served as Pilot in P-3 Orion aircraft flying Anti-Submarine Patrols during the Cold War.

He will also discuss the history and future of the Yankee Air Museum and the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show featuring the awe-inspiring
US Navy Blue Angels, at the Willow Run Airport July 18-19th.

Advance tickets available at Thunder Tickets.

Hidden Gems: Books Unjustly Dusty #1

rembrandt's sea of galileerembrandt's sea of galilee

Four books with a nautical theme in the AADL Catalog are calling out for attention.

Stargazing: Memoirs of a Young Lighthouse Keeper by Peter Hill is a well-written account of his time in the 1970s as a lightkeeper on the west coast of Scotland. Spending time alone to contemplate life and in close quarters with an older generation of lightkeepers that can only be described as "salty" makes for some memorable stories. Strange, but everyone was obsessed with the Watergate Hearings and migrating birds.

Cherish the Sea: A History of Sail by Jean de la Varende, a history of sailing beginning with the Egyptians up to the clipper ships, is beautifully illustrated by the author. Translated from the French by Mervyn Savill, it is obviously a work of love that took many years to complete.

She Captains: Heroines & Hellions of the Sea by Joan Druett is a fun read about Grace O'Malley, the Irish pirate queen of the 16th century, Caribbean buccaneers Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and Cheng I Sao, a woman who organized a confederacy of pirates that controlled the China Sea in the 19th century.

Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain 1808-1833 by Charles Tyng is a journal discovered by one of his descendants that chronicles pirates, storms, shipwrecks, mutinies, and other near-death adventures at sea.

Shi Pei Pu, Singer, Spy and ‘M. Butterfly,’ Dies at 70

Shi Pei PuShi Pei Pu

The story of Shi Pei Pu and Bernard Boursicot is more proof truth is stranger than fiction.

Bouriscot, was a worker at the French Embassy in Beijing when he fell in love with Shi Pei Pu, an opera singer who was a man masquerading as a woman. Read the obituary for the incredibly strange story of love, espionage and music.

The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages 1851-2008

The Old Gray Lady has covered all these events and more:

Lincoln’s assassination, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic, WW I, the Normandy Invasion, the Titanic disaster, Watergate, and 9/11.

If you give this book to a history buff you may never see him or her again. About 300 of the most momentous front pages are printed in this mammoth book. Also included are 3 very user friendly DVDs that cover every single front page through 2008.

If you don't ever hear from me again you'll know what happened.

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