books

Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Archive for 'History'

Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine

Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine (2021) Olivia Campbell Although primarily about three women: Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake, other women who were among the first to attend (or attempt to attend) medical school. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical […]

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History (2019) Pamela D. Toler One of the things about ebooks that is both good and bad, is that when I am reading them I have no idea how long they are. This means I can be surprised at an ending, since I generally have little idea how far along I […]

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics (2014) Kathryn J. Atwood Table of Contents: PART I RESISTERS AND SPIES Edith Cavell: “Patriotism Is Not Enough” Louise Thuliez: “Because I Am a Frenchwoman” Emilienne Moreau: The Teen Who Became a National Symbol Gabrielle Petit: Feisty Patriot Marthe Cnockaert: Nurse for […]

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World (2017) Laura Spinney This one took me a bit to get through, but mostly because I completely stopped reading non-fiction for awhile last year. This is another story about the Spanish Influenza, this time focusing upon the changes the diseases wrought upon […]

An Edible History of Humanity

An Edible History of Humanity (2009) Tom Standage Forever ago I read a History of the World in 6 Glasses, and found it interesting, so I picked up this, let it languish for awhile, and then finally decided to settle down and read it. I found many of the historical bits interesting. It is only […]

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics

18 Tiny Deaths: The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics (2020) Bruce Goldfarb Frances Glessner Lee, daughter of wealthy Chicago socialites, ended up becoming the mother of Forensic Medicine. However, she did so not only without a medical degree, but she didn’t even have a high school diploma, teaching […]

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004/2009/2018) John M. Barry I started this immediately after finishing Gina Kolata‘s book on the flu. Interestingly, these books work well together. This book looks at things up to and during the outbreak, Kolata’s book is during and after the outbreak. This book covers […]

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It (1999) Gina Kolata I’d been wanting to re-read Flu for years, however, I the digital version never went on sale. But when the Covid-19 pandemic started, it went on sale one day, and I snatched it […]

Passionate Minds: Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment

Passionate Minds: Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and the Great Love Affair of the Enlightenment (2006) David Bodanis In France (and Europe) ~1706-1749 Unless you are a geek or a mathematician (or perhaps astronomer) you probably have never heard of Emilie du Chatelet. Not because she lacked achievements, but because she achieved those things as a […]

Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love

Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love (1999) Dava Sobel I read this a long time ago. Possibly soon after it came out. So when I needed some non-fiction bedtime reading, I decided to read it again. This book is based upon Galileo’s “124 surviving letters from the once-voluminous correspondence he carried […]

The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West

The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West (2006) Chris Enss The stories in this book are very interesting–it’s a look at the women who were the pioneers of medicine in the old West. The problem is that the writing is pretty terrible. Each women is introduced with a somewhat fictionalized tale of […]

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (2011) Helen Castor This was my most recent “read before bed” book, so it took me quite awhile to finish, and I can’t say that a lot of it will stick with me, but it was interesting. The book looks at queens who attempted to rule England […]

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses (2005) Tom Standage I got this as a kindle deal, and was absolutely delighted by it. It’s a look at how six beverages–beer, wine, liquor, coffee, tea, and Coca Cola–changed the world. There were so very many fascinating historical tidbits, I’m afraid that on multiple occasions I […]

Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History

Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History (2010) Diana Wells Well. That only took about six months to read. Maybe more. That’s not to say it wasn’t interesting, and that I didn’t learn lots of fascinating stuff. But it was very good bedtime reading. I have to say, one of the things I’ve come to […]

Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History

Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History (2011) Bill Laws I like to read non-fiction books. First, I like learning stuff, and second, non-fiction is generally good to read before bed, since it tends to lack suspense and surprises. Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History cover a lot of plants, focusing on […]

Elizabeth Street: A Novel Based on True Events

Elizabeth Street: A Novel Based on True Events (2006/2010) Laurie Fabiano Laurie Fabiano’s grandmother and great-grandmother were amazing, remarkable women. This is a retelling of her great-grandmother Giovanna’s life, with pieces of the author’s interactions with her grandmother (Giovanna’s daughter) added in, and details, where they would have been unknown so many years later (such […]

The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin

The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin (2011) Elizabeth Mitchell This had the potential to be a fabulous story: Mrs Goodwin was the first woman to become an official New York City police detective. She worked undercover helping to take down not just fake spiritualists and others who preyed on women, but also dangerous criminals. Instead, the writing […]

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (2010) Sam Kean This was a fun book. Although I was initially a little unsure, once we got to the part where he explained the big bang and it completely made sense […]

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (1972) David McCullough I picked up this book while perusing the “Buy 3 get a 4th Free” table at a book store, and it looked interesting, and I like to read about history, so I figured, why not? When the perfected East […]

The Anatomy of Deception

The Anatomy of Deception (2008) Lawrence Goldstone Ephraim Carroll is a young doctor studying under the great William Osler (a doctor who would go on to be one of the founding professors at Johns Hopkins). Osler is a somewhat controversial doctor, who embraces the newest medical techniques including sterile surgery, and autopsy as a method […]

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books (2003) Azar Nafisi Azar Nafisi lived and taught English literature in Tehran during the upheaval of the Islamic Revolution. Her memoir is not only of her memories of that time, but of how attitudes towards women changed, and how not just she–but also her students–used English literature […]

The Poisoner’s Handbook

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York (2010) Deborah Blum I think that anyone who enjoys mysteries has to be at least a little bit fascinated with poisonings and forensic medicine, and The Poisoner’s Handbook looks at the beginning of forensic medicine and the circumstances that allowed […]

The Planets

The Planets (2005) Dava Sobel Several years ago I read and thoroughly enjoyed Galileo’s Daughter, and when I found The Planets in paperback and a 4-for-3 sale, I decided to pick it up. The Planets looks at–unsurprisingly–the planets. Including (since it was published in 2005) Pluto. Although as a whole I thoroughly enjoyed it, there […]

Spook

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005) Mary Roach As much as I enjoyed Stiff, I found Spook disappointing. As a scientific look at life after death, excluding the last couple chapters, it read more as a debunking than a presentation. Of course that’s partially because several chapters deal with things like ectoplasm exuding from mediums, […]

The Buried Pyramid

The Buried Pyramid (2004) Jane Lindskold I spent the first two thirds of this book mildly wondering why it was classified as a fantasy. Then the fantasy kicked in, but I’d given up caring whether it was fantasy or historical fiction long before. I just wanted to know what happened. Jenny Benet has been orphaned, […]

Labyrinth

Labyrinth (2005) Kate Mosse This book could be classified in any number of ways. There are elements of fantasy, mystery, suspense, romance, and history. As such, I thought it worked best as an historical novel, because this was the strongest part of the book. The story of Alais and Guilhem and Sajhe was the most […]

Elizabeth & Mary

Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens (2003) Jane Dunn I like to read books about history because my knowledge of history is–at best–poor, and I always like learning more. For instances, the sum total of my knowledge of the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots was that Mary thought the secret codes […]