New releases: May 2017 – history & biography

Post 215

It’s another month with two Wednesdays so I”m choosing two genres besides the regular 3 to look at this month. I can’t remember if I’ve ever looked at the history & biography genre, so that’s the one I chose first. So are you ready to look at the top 5 new releases of history & biography?

  1. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore
    Publication date: May 18th 2017
    As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” were considered the luckiest alive—until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America’s biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights. A rich, historical narrative written in a sparkling voice, The Radium Girls is the first book that fully explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.
  2. Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth by Holger Hoock
    Publication date: May 9th 2017
    The American Revolution is often portrayed as an orderly, restrained rebellion, with brave patriots defending their noble ideals against an oppressive empire. It’s a stirring narrative, and one the founders did their best to encourage after the war. But as historian Holger Hoock shows in this deeply researched and elegantly written account of America’s founding, the Revolution was not only a high-minded battle over principles, but also a profoundly violent civil war—one that shaped the nation, and the British Empire, in ways we have only begun to understand. In Scars of Independence, Hoock writes the violence back into the story of the Revolution. American Patriots persecuted and tortured Loyalists. British troops massacred enemy soldiers and raped colonial women. Prisoners were starved on disease-ridden ships and in subterranean cells. African-Americans fighting for or against independence suffered disproportionately, and Washington’s army waged a genocidal campaign against the Iroquois. In vivid, authoritative prose, Hoock’s new reckoning also examines the moral dilemmas posed by this all-pervasive violence, as the British found themselves torn between unlimited war and restraint toward fellow subjects, while the Patriots documented war crimes in an ingenious effort to unify the fledgeling nation. For two centuries we have whitewashed this history of the Revolution. Scars of Independence forces a more honest appraisal, revealing the inherent tensions between moral purpose and violent tendencies in America’s past. In so doing, it offers a new origins story that is both relevant and necessary—an important reminder that forging a nation is rarely bloodless.
  3. Spies in the Family: An American Spymaster, His Russion Crown Jewe, adn the Friendship That Helped End the Cold War by Eva Dillon
    Publication date: May 9th 2017
    In the summer of 1975, seventeen-year-old Eva Dillon was living in New Delhi with her family when her father was exposed as a CIA spy. Eva had long believed that her father was a U.S. State Department employee. She had no idea that he was handling the CIA’s highest-ranking double agent—Dmitri Fedorovich Polyakov—a Soviet general whose code name was TOPHAT. Dillon’s father and Polyakov had a close friendship that went back years, to their first meeting in Burma in the mid-1960s. At the height of the Cold War, the Russian double agent offered the CIA an unfiltered view into the vault of Soviet intelligence. His collaboration helped ensure that tensions between the two nuclear superpowers did not escalate into a shooting war. Spanning fifty years and three continents, Spies in the Family is a deeply researched account of two families on opposite sides of the lethal espionage campaigns of the Cold War, and two men whose devoted friendship lasted a lifetime, until the devastating final days of their lives. With impeccable insider access to both families as well as knowledgeable CIA and FBI officers, Dillon goes beyond the fog of secrecy to craft an unforgettable story of friendship and betrayal, double agents and clandestine lives, that challenges our notions of patriotism, exposing the commonality between peoples of opposing political economic systems. Both a gripping tale of spy craft and a moving personal story, Spies in the Family is an invaluable and heart-rending work.
  4. The Flight: Charles Lindbergh’s Daring and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing by Dan Hampton
    Publication date: May 16th 2017
    America’s finest aviation story in the hands of our finest aviation historian, The Flight is Dan Hampton’s biggest, most dramatic book yet. On the morning of May 20, 1927, a little-known pilot named Charles Lindbergh waited to take off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island. He was determined to claim the $25,000 Orteig Prize promised to the first pilot to fly nonstop from New York to Paris—a contest that had already claimed six men’s lives. Just twenty-five years old, Lindbergh had never before flown over water. Yet thirty-three hours later, his single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, touched down in Paris. Overnight, Charles Lindbergh became the most famous aviator of all time. The Flight is a long overdue, flyer’s eye view look at Lindbergh’s legendary journey. Decorated fighter pilot and bestselling author Dan Hampton offers a unique appreciation for Lindbergh’s accomplishment: Hampton has flown the exact same route many times, knowledge that informs and shapes The Flight. Relying upon a trove of primary sources, including Lindbergh’s own personal diary and writings, Hampton crafts a dramatic narrative of a challenging, death-defying feat that many had believed was impossible. Moving hour by hour, Hampton recounts Lindbergh’s uncertainty over his equipment and his courage as he traverses the vast darkness of the Atlantic with no radar. Moving between the sky and ground, Hampton intersperses the tale of the flight with Lindbergh’s personal history as well as some of the stories of those waiting for him on the ground, praying he would make it safely across.
  5. MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II by Peter Eisner
    Publication date: May 2nd 2017
    A thrilling story of espionage, daring and deception set in the exotic landscape of occupied Manila during World War II. On January 2, 1942, Japanese troops marched into Manila unopposed by U.S. forces. Manila was a strategic port, a romantic American outpost and a jewel of a city. Tokyo saw its conquest of the Philippines as the key in its plan to control all of Asia, including Australia. Thousands of soldiers surrendered and were sent on the notorious eighty-mile Bataan Death March. But thousands of other Filipinos and Americans refused to surrender and hid in the Luzon hills above Bataan and Manila. MacArthur’s Spies is the story of three of them, and how they successfully foiled the Japanese for more than two years, sabotaging Japanese efforts and preparing the way for MacArthur s return. From a jungle hideout, Colonel John Boone, an enlisted American soldier, led an insurgent force of Filipino fighters who infiltrated Manila as workers and servants to stage demolitions and attacks. Chick Parsons, an American businessman, polo player, and expatriate in Manila, was also a U.S. Navy intelligence officer. He escaped in the guise of a Panamanian diplomat, and returned as MacArthur s spymaster, coordinating the guerrilla efforts with the planned Allied invasion.
    And, finally, there was Claire Phillips, an itinerant American torch singer with many names and almost as many husbands. Her nightclub in Manila served as a cover for supplying food to Americans in the hills and to thousands of prisoners of war. She and the men and women who worked with her gathered information from the collaborating Filipino businessmen; the homesick, English-speaking Japanese officers; and the spies who mingled in the crowd. 

Other new releases of May 2017 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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