The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

By Dava Sobel. #1 New York Times bestselling author Dava Sobel returns with the captivating, little-known true story of a group of women whose remarkable contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but by the 1880s the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The “glass universe” of half a million plates that Harvard amassed in this period—thanks in part to the early financial support of another woman, Mrs. Anna Draper, whose late husband pioneered the technique of stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances across space by starlight. Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars, Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use, and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, who in 1956 became the first ever woman professor of astronomy at Harvard—and Harvard’s first female department chair. Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of a group of remarkable women who, through their hard work and groundbreaking discoveries, disproved the commonly held belief that the gentler sex had little to contribute to human knowledge.

Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors

By George W. Bush. A vibrant collection of military oil paintings and stories by the 43rd President, published to benefit the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, stands as an official tie-in to the exhibition scheduled for March 2017 at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910

By Steven Hahn. A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian explores the 80 years surrounding the Civil War, detailing the pivotal developments in the 19th century that transformed the way Americans lived, worked and thought, including changes in social and economic life, as well as sectionalism and imperialism.

Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness

pearl-harborBy Craig Nelson. An account based on years of research and new information illuminates less-understood aspects of how and why Japan targeted America, sharing additional details about the experiences of survivors. By the award-winning author of Rocket Men.

On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games

On the origins of sportsby Gary Belsky and Neil Fine

Did you know that James Naismith invented basketball as a way to keep his students indoors during the cold Massachusetts winter? Or that many of the Southerners who began racing stock cars got their early driving experience escaping police while running moonshine? On the Origins of Sports is jam-packed with these compelling tidbits of information tailor-made for obsessive sports fans, and covers a wide range of sports—whether national pastimes like football and cricket or global obsessions such as soccer and basketball.

Each sport will have its own chapter, which will include the sport’s original rules; a short history of the sport in accessible, insightful text; and informative line illustrations. Also included are annotated interstitials that take a deeper look into an element of the sport: for example, the evolution of the baseball glove; sports with war roots; a compendium of sports balls; iconic sports trophies; and more. Aside from facts and figures, rules and history,On the Origins of Sports will be a book that sports enthusiasts and history buffs alike will want to display on their coffee tables, showcase on their bookshelves, and treasure for generations

Valiant Ambition

ValiantBy Nathaniel Philbrick. Presents an account of the complicated middle years of the American Revolution that shares insights into the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

Immortal IrishmanPlaces the improbable life of Great Famine orator and revolutionary hero Thomas Francis Meagher against a backdrop of Irish-American history, detailing his leadership during Irish uprisings, service with the Irish Brigade and achievements as the territorial governor of Montana. By a National Book Award-winning author Timothy Egan.

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley

Geography of geniusAn acclaimed travel writer examines the connection between surroundings and innovative ideas, profiling examples in such regions as early 20th-century Vienna, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens and Silicon Valley. By the best-selling author of The Geography of Bliss.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Pirate HuntersTraces the high-stakes quest of John Mattera and Shadow Divers’ Chatterton to find the lost pirate ship of Joseph Bannister, discussing their teamwork with technology-eschewing Tracy Bowden and the story behind Bannister’s elusive treasure.

Dead Wake

Dead WakeThe #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Garden of Beasts presents a 100th-anniversary chronicle of the sinking of the Lusitania that discusses the factors that led to the tragedy and the contributions of such figures as President Wilson, bookseller Charles Lauriat and architect Theodate Pope Riddle. Includes two maps.

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