The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand for

A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States–winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others–that reminds us of fundamental American principles.
Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.

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.

We Do Our Part: Toward a Fairer and More Equal America

By Charles Peters.  “We Do Our Part” was the slogan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration–and it captured the can-do spirit that allowed America to survive the Great Depression and win World War II. Although the intervening decades have seen their share of progress as well, in some ways we have regressed as a nation. Over the course of a sixty-year career as a Washington, D.C., journalist, historian, and challenger of conventional wisdom, Charles Peters has witnessed these drastic changes firsthand. This stirring book explains how we can consolidate the gains we have made while recapturing the generous spirit we have lost.

About the author: Charles Peters was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and educated in local public schools. He earned a BA and a MA at Columbia University and attended the University of Virginia Law School. Peters served in the U.S. Army, worked in backstage roles in summer theaters and for a large advertising agency, and practiced law. He served in the West Virginia legislature and managed John Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign in his own county. Peters also helped found the Peace Corps and served as its director of evaluation. Peters is the author of several books, including an examination of the political system, How Washington Really Works; a history, Five Days in Philadelphia; and a biography, Lyndon B. Johnson, for the American Presidents series. On a personal note: Charles (Charlie) Peters was a great friend of my father ~ Alice)

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.

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 Cabaret of Plants: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination

Cabaret of PlantsTaking readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our backyards, a renowned naturalist presents a sweeping botanical history in which he explores dozens of plant species that have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief.

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain

Note to Little DribblingA sequel to “Notes from a Small Island” stands as the author’s tribute to his adopted country of England and describes his riotous return visit two decades later to rediscover the country, its people, and its culture.

wwd