Category Archives: This Week in History

Some Books for Women’s History Month

women science
A few weeks ago, Baila told us about Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. When I posted about that, someone commented on that post, “I think you mean Rosalind Franklin. Forget Watson and Crick!”
This was news to me. I had never heard the name Rosalind Franklin. So a quick DuckDuckGo search lead me to learn that she was a biophysicist who, among other achievements, helped science come to understand how DNA was formed. Her work was crucial to what Watson and Crick were able to do. They based their findings on her research and, unfortunately history hasn’t given her he share of the credit. So, if you want to know about the origins of DNA, you may be interested in reading Rosalind Franklin and DNA by Anne Sayre.
Want to know about other women working in science, in laboratories, making discoveries, and paving the way for women in a typically masculine field? You might want to read Women in Science: then and now by Vivian Gornick.


This Week in History – in Books

So yesterday Jake told us all about the history of Florida. Florida. I bet it’s nice and warm there now. I bet there’s no snow on the ground in Florida. I bet I could run outside if I were in Florida.
Oooopps. Did I type that out loud?
Anyway…back to the books. So how about some books set in Florida?
Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorite writers. He writes for adults and kids and both sets of books are equally as engaging and funny. Hoot, Flush, Scat, and Chomp are set in Florida. Each book looks at a different environmental issue facing animals (and people) there. Usually, quirky kids are going up against big corporations and figuring out how to make their points heard.

On a completely different topic, Michaela yesterday talked about school integration. One of my favorite books on that topic is Elizabeth and Hazel: two women of Little Rock. This is probably one of the most iconic pictures from the civil rights movement
(photo by Will Counts via
The African-American student is Elizabeth Eckford. She was one of the Little Rock Nine. The student yelling at her is Hazel Massery. Author David Margolick sought out the two women a few years back to see where life had taken them both. The result of that is this book.

This Week in History – in Books

So, yesterday, Kyle and Baila told us all about how the US ended up with a Naval base on Cuba and how Watson and Crick changed the way we see everything with DNA.
For today’s books, I found two in the Point-Counterpoint series. (This series is not to be confused with the awesomely funny Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain skits from Saturday Night Live…if you’re not familiar, ask your folks.) Point-Counterpoint takes controversial issues and looks for experts on both sides of a particular argument. So for today…
DNA Evidence looks at the reliability of DNA and how it can compromise or enhance our privacy. The War on Terror tackles issues such as human rights and the efficacy of laws when fighting a war against terror. And these aren’t the only Point-Counterpoint subjects. So come and check them out and have a good debate with yourself.

This Week in History – in Books 10/15

Just FYI…no books on Columbus in this edition of This Week in History – in Books.

Let’s see. Corwallis and the surrender at Yorktown. A quick tumble through the card catalog showed me a number of Revolutionary War books, but this one looked the most interesting.
George Washington, Spymaster looks at how spy craft was used by the colonists to outwit the British during the American Revolution. This is part of the fun of This Week in History – in Books…this book was sort of buried in between two other books. If no one checks it out, I’m taking it home this weekend!

Founding of the Guggenheim Museum.
If you’ve never seen the Guggenheim, it’s quite a building. In fact, lots of folks were appalled when it was built. There Goes the Neighborhood showcases the Guggenheim and nine other buildings that were considered eyesores when they were built.

So, for all of his notorious activities, Al Capone was finally arrested for tax evasion, for which he spend time in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. Want to know all of his history? Check out The Life and Times of Al Capone.

Finally, read all about the secrets of Alaska in Wild Alaska.

This Week in History – in Books

So this week, the History department brings us the birth of the Navy, the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the great Chicago fire. Want to know more?

History of the United States Navy chronicles the US Navy from 1775 through modern times. There are some fabulous photos and at the end of the book, they feature cross-sections of various Navy ships along with details about each one.

Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson tells the story of a young girl living in Philadelphia during the yellow fever outbreak.

Three Cups of Tea tells the true story of Greg Mortenson who has been very involved in building schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As for the Chicago fire…I couldn’t find any books specifically about that. So, you can either pick up a book about Mad Cow Disease or Veronica Roth’s Divergent, which is set in a futuristic Chicago, which probably kind of resembles Chicago after the fire.

This Week in History…in Books

I love the History Department’s plan of talking about “this week in history” each week. And since I think everything can be related to books, I thought I’d jump on their bandwagon. There will be one bookcase display dedicated to “This Month in History” where I’ll put up books related to the topics each week.
So, for this week, I have Tom Wolfe’s classic, The Right Stuff, about the NASA pilots and astronauts who were part of the beginning of the space race against Russia.
Regarding National Parks, America’s Hidden Treasures highlights some of the less famous National Parks. Or check out the biography of John Muir who was instrumental in getting the United States to establish the National Park system. (Did you know that the United States is the only country with national parks?)
Finally, if you want to see how cars are put together, check out How Cars Are Made. It’s kind of dated (the book is from the mid-80s), but aside from the funny looking cars, it’s a pretty decent explanation of the assembly-line process.