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Jane's Picks

Jane suggests these books:

The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501114977
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - June 6th, 2017

Meet one of the most important women you’ve never heard about. Missy LeHand was, in all respects, FDR’s chief of staff during his first three terms. No one got to President Roosevelt without going through Missy first. She was his confidant, adviser, friend, secretary, and as FDR himself called her, his conscience. She essentially became part of the Roosevelt family to the extent that FDR directed in his will that half the income from his estate would go to Missy and half to his wife, Eleanor. Author Kathryn Smith has done a marvelous job telling the story of a friendship not only vital to FDR and his family, but one that ultimately influenced America itself. Highly recommend!

ISBN: 9780306823534
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Da Capo Press - February 10th, 2015

A timely read in an election year to be sure,"Mr.President": George Washington and the Making of the Nation's Highest Office by Harlow Giles Unger, is an absorbing, eye-openeing reading experience in any season. I was amazed at what I did not know about the office of the President and what the tumultuous ealry years of our nation, immediately following the end of the Revolutionary War, wer eally like for the nation's leaders as well as its citizens. This book game me a completely new appreciation of George Washington as a bold, selfless, and visionary political leader who clearly understood the importance of each precedent he set as the nation's first President. I highly recommend this book!

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis Cover Image
ISBN: 9781592409174
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avery - March 31st, 2015

Not that long ago, tuberculosis or “consumption” as it was commonly called, was the leading cause of death in Europe and the United States. No one knew what caused TB and there was certainly no cure for a disease that was pervasive throughout all communities.

Robert Koch, German doctor and a true pioneer in the field of microbiology and research protocols discovered the bacteria that causes TB in 1882 and literally changed the course of medical and human history proving the “germ theory” widely accepted now, that germs cause disease. This theory was rigorously opposed by his medical colleagues at a time when the more blood and pus a surgeon wore on his apron, the better. The Remedy’s author, Thomas Goetz, presents the story of Robert Koch and fellow doctor, Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for his Sherlock Holmes stories, not his medical career. Holmes was greatly interested in Koch’s work and meticulous methods and their two lives intersected in a most interesting way affecting both of their careers and futures.   

This is a highly fascinating book filled with medical and literary history that impacts us yet today. Writing in a very entertaining and informative style. Highly recommended!

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey Cover Image
ISBN: 9780767913737
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - October 10th, 2006

Candice Millard has written a fascinating account of an almost unbelievable journey taken by Theodore Roosevelt, his son, Kermit, and a team of world class naturalists and explorers as they traveled down the hertofore unchartered River of Doubt in Brazil.

A journey of this nature at any time would be daunting, but in 1914 with no communication with the outside world and none of the medical or technological advantages we know today, this expedition quickly became a challenge to survive.

You will feel as though you are in the Amazon jungle with this group of amazing men as they battle elements within and without to put the (now named) Rio Roosevelt on the map of the world. Highly recommended!

Still Alice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439102817
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - January 6th, 2009

Like millions of others, my family has been affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. Still Alice by Lisa Genova, is a tender, heartbreaking and realistically written novel about Alice Hyland and her life after she is diagnosed with early-onset AD.  The author skillfully portrays the frightening sense of loss—of control, self-identity and place in the world, including her own family—that Alice experiences while she journeys deeper into the disease and away from the world she knew as a wife, mother, and Harvard professor.
 Still Alice is a book well worth the heartache it is at times to read, because of the insight it gives to those of us on the outside of AD—at least for the moment.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President Cover Image
ISBN: 9780767929714
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor - June 12th, 2012

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

This book was just an amazing read. I knew nothing about President Garfield except for the fact that he had been assassinated. Once I started reading, the story of this remarkable man , I was struck with the realization that our nation was robbed of one of its greatest Presidents.

James Garfield was a multifaceted man of incredible intellect, humility, humor and compassion. Gifted in so many ways yet never one to seek power, his rise from the extreme poverty of his childhood to the highest office in the land is a worthy story in itself.

The tragic course of events surrounding the shooting of President Garfield left me wanting desperately to change the ending of the story and his death at the hands, not of the would-be assassin, but of an arrogant, selfish, and incompetent physician.

A book you will not forget, Destiny of the Republic will not disappoint.

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439176597
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - April 24th, 2012

Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden is an absolute delight to read. The adventures of two best friends from upper class society families in Auburn, New York who accept teaching jobs in a rugged mining town in northwest Colorado, jump to life on the pages. The year is 1916 and the spunky Smith College grads are not ready to settle down to a life of marriage, tea parties and social calls. Author Dorothy Wickenden’s source for this marvelous tale are the letters of her grandmother, Dorothy Woodruff, and best friend and kindred spirit, Rosamond Underwood. Funny, inspiring, and touching…don’t miss this book! Highly recommended!

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618773473
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 2006

This is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary time in our nation’s history. The Worst Hard Time is a tale about the Dust Bowl days of the “dirty thirties” and the people who chose to stay on their ravaged land during what was an environmentally disastrous time of almost Biblical proportions.

Written in an intensely interesting and riveting style, this book explains the causes of the Dust Bowl and the very personal and tragic results of turning vast amounts of America’s great grasslands “wrong side up” in a futile attempt to farm land that was never meant for the plow.

I felt as though I had met and spoken with the people who lived through this “worst hard time” and continue to be inspired by their determination and perseverance through unbelievable trials.

Truly a book that I did not want to put down.

The Reckless Decade: America in the 1890s Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226071169
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - March 15th, 2002

Reading history is fascinating, elightening, and can also offer comfort in turbulent times. H.W. Brands' The Reckless Decade:America in the 1890s accomplishes all of these goals.

Big business, class disparity, racial struggles, America's involvement in countries around the globe, a highly charged political atmosphere...there are issues that were front and center at the turn of the twentieth centory with paralells we easily recognize today. H.W. Brands does a wonderful job weaving togehter a very readable account of the great and many changes that were taking place in our country at this very pivotoal time. The book takes us from the close of the American frontier to America's first forays intow what could be termed imperialism and the spreading of our influence around the world. When we wonder if America can survive our own turbulent times, the words of the author offer balance: "Survive it did...and emerged more buoyant than ever. History offers no guarantees, but it does offer perspective, which can be the next bvest thing." Highly recommended!