From the year 9AD to Henry Ford, here’s five new books about history to watch out for:
[All links below direct you to South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue where you can reserve a copy online]
Four Days in September: The Battle of Teutoburg by Jason R. Abdale (30 May 2016)
For twenty years, the Roman Empire conquered its way through modern-day Germany, claiming all lands from the Rhine to the Elbe. However, when at last all appeared to be under control, a catastrophe erupted that claimed the lives of 10,000 legionnaires and laid Rome’s imperial ambitions for Germania into the dust. In late September of 9 AD, three Roman legions, while marching to suppress a distant tribal rebellion, were attacked in a four-day battle with the Germanic barbarians. The Romans, under the leadership of the province’s governor, Publius Quinctilius Varus, were taken completely by surprise, betrayed by a member of their own ranks: the German officer and secret rebel leader, Arminius. The defeat was a heavy blow to both Rome’s military and its pride. Though the disaster was ruthlessly avenged soon afterwards, later attempts at conquering the Germans were half-hearted at best. Four days in September thoroughly examines the ancient sources and challenges the hypotheses of modern scholars to present a clear picture of the prelude to the battle, the fighting itself and its aftermath.
Hitler’s Berlin: Abused City by Thomas Friedrich (7 Jun 2016)
From his first visit to Berlin in 1916, Hitler was preoccupied and fascinated by Germany’s great capital city. In this vivid and entirely new account of Hitler’s relationship with Berlin, Thomas Friedrich explores how Hitler identified with the city, how his political aspirations were reflected in architectural aspirations for the capital, and how Berlin surprisingly influenced the development of Hitler’s political ideas. A leading expert on the twentieth-century history of Berlin, Friedrich employs new and little-known German sources to track Hitler’s attitudes and plans for the city. Even while he despised both the cosmopolitan culture of the Weimar Republic and the profound Jewish influence on the city, Hitler was drawn to the grandiosity of its architecture and its imperial spirit. He dreamed of transforming Berlin into a capital that would reflect his autocracy, and he used the city for such varied purposes as testing his anti-Semitic policies and demonstrating the might of the Third Reich. Illuminating Berlin’s burdened years under Nazi subjection, Friedrich offers new understandings of Hitler and his politics, architectural views, and artistic opinions.
Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hull by Mark Lee Gardner (16 Jun 2016)
The first definitive account of this legendary fighting force and its extraordinary leader, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Lee Gardner’s Rough Riders is narrative nonfiction at its most invigorating and compulsively readable. Its dramatic unfolding of a familiar, yet not-fully-known story will remind readers of James Swanson’s Manhunt.
Two months after the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in February 1898, Congress authorized President McKinley to recruit a volunteer army to drive the Spaniards from Cuba. From this army emerged the legendary “Rough Riders,” a mounted regiment drawn from America’s western territories and led by the indomitable Theodore Roosevelt. Its ranks included not only cowboys and other westerners, but several Ivy Leaguers and clubmen, many of them friends of “TR.” Roosevelt and his men quickly came to symbolize American ruggedness, daring, and individualism. He led them to victory in the famed Battle at San Juan Hill, which made TR a national hero and cemented the Rough Riders’ place in history.
Now, Mark Lee Gardner synthesizes previously unknown primary accounts as well as period newspaper articles, letters, and diaries from public and private archives in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Boston, and Washington, DC, to produce this authoritative chronicle. He breathes fresh life into the Rough Riders and pays tribute to their daring feats and indomitable leader. Gardner also explores lesser-known aspects of the story, including their relationship with the African-American “Buffalo Soldiers, with whom they fought side by side at San Juan Hill.
Rich with action, violence, camaraderie, and courage, Rough Riders sheds new light on the Theodore Roosevelt saga—and on one of the most thrilling chapters in American history.
The Mythology of Richard III by John Ashdown-Hill (15 Jun 2016)
Richard III. The name will conjure an image for any reader. Shakespeare’s hunchback tyrant who killed his own nephews or a long-denigrated, misunderstood king. This one man’s character and actions have divided historians and the controversy has always kept interest in Richard alive. However, curiosity surrounding his life and death has reached unprecedented heights in the aftermath of the discovery of his skeleton under a Leicester car park.
The myths that have always swirled around Richard III have risen and multiplied and it is time to set the record straight. John Ashdown-Hill, whose research was instrumental in the discovery of Richard III’s remains, explores and unravels the web of myths in this fascinating book.
Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age by Lawrence Goldstone (17 May 2016)
From the acclaimed author of “Birdmen” comes a revelatory new history of the birth of the automobile, an illuminating and entertaining true tale of invention, competition, and the visionaries, hustlers, and swindlers who came together to transform the world.
In 1900, the Automobile Club of America sponsored the nation s first car show in New York s Madison Square Garden. The event was a spectacular success, attracting seventy exhibitors and nearly fifty thousand visitors. Among the spectators was an obscure would-be automaker named Henry Ford, who walked the floor speaking with designers and engineers, trying to gauge public enthusiasm for what was then a revolutionary invention. His conclusion: the automobile was going to be a fixture in American society, both in the city and on the farm and would make some people very rich. None, he decided, more than he.
“Drive!” is the most complete account to date of the wild early days of the auto age. Lawrence Goldstone tells the fascinating story of how the internal combustion engine, a theory looking for an application, evolved into an innovation that would change history. Debunking many long-held myths along the way, “Drive!” shows that the creation of the automobile was not the work of one man, but very much a global effort. Long before anyone had heard of Henry Ford, men with names like Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler were building and marketing the world s first cars.
Goldstone breathes life into an extraordinary cast of characters: the inventors and engineers who crafted engines small enough to use on a horseless carriage; the financiers who risked everything for their visions; the first racers daredevils who pushed rickety, untested vehicles to their limits; and such visionary lawyers as George Selden, who fought for and won the first patent for the gasoline-powered automobile. Lurking around every corner is Henry Ford, a brilliant innovator and an even better marketer, a tireless promoter of his products and of himself.
With a narrative as propulsive as its subject, “Drive! “plunges us headlong into a time unlike any in history, when near-manic innovation, competition, and consumerist zeal coalesced to change the way the world moved.
Advance praise for “Drive!”
A wonderful, story-filled saga of the early days of the auto age . . . Readers will be swept up in his vivid re-creation of a bygone era. . . . Horse Is Doomed, read one headline in 1895. This highly readable popular history tells why. “Kirkus Reviews “(starred reviews)
A splendid dissection of the Selden/Ford patent face-off and its place in automotive historiography, this work will be enjoyed by business, legal, transportation, social, and intellectual historians; general readers; and all libraries. “Library Journal” (starred review)
This book contains the great names in automotive history the Dodge brothers, Barney Oldfield, all the French (they seemed, until Ford, to lead the Americans in development of the vehicle) and it is fascinating. . . . An engaging new take on the history of technological innovation. “Booklist”
Business history as you have never read it before. Lawrence Goldstone tells the tale of the important but now forgotten legal fight over the patent for the automobile. With more plot twists than a murder mystery and a cast of well-known industrial titans, “Drive!” takes the reader down the road from the dawning age of the automobile, when Henry Ford s dream almost turned into a nightmare. James McGrath Morris, author of “Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power””