John's picks

 John, a bookseller at Gibson's Bookstore My academic background is science & history & I've been a bookseller for over 20 years, first at the Harvard Coop, then at Gibson's.

 

$29.95
ISBN-13: 9781594204302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press HC, The, 2/2014

John's April 2014 pick

Five Came Back:  A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris

Five Came Back by Mark Harris is the story of five leading Hollywood directors – John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens & John Huston – who volunteered to serve in World War II, giving up lavish lifestyles to do so. They tried to use their filmmaking talents to show & explain the war to the American people. Harris tells a fascinating story that is a wonderful mixture of Hollywood gossip, politics, military history, & the individual stories of the five. All were changed by their experiences witnessing combat & being separated from loved ones, and the movies they made postwar would reflect that. Most moving is the story of George Stevens, who filmed the liberation of Dachau & later struggled with what we would now call PTSD.


$35.00
ISBN-13: 9780307597052
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Knopf, 9/2013

John's December 2013 pick

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings

With the impending centennial of the start of the First World War, there have already been many books on the subject of the war’s beginnings, with more to come. Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War is a fine one to start with. Max Hastings mostly sticks to military side of the disaster that befell Europe in 1914, and does his usual excellent job of telling the story. Like Rick Atkinson (Liberation Trilogy) he covers both the generals and the front line soldiers and civilians, using many quotes from primary sources to convey the experience of battle. He’s unsparing in his criticism of the leaders on both sides and debunks many myths.


$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780767919401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Doubleday, 10/2013

John's October 2013 pick

With a cast of characters still famous – Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth – to the now obscure like Shipwreck Kelly and Philo T. Farnsworth, Bill Bryson does a wonderful job of portraying America in the summer of 1927. Here we have the beginnings of things we now take for granted, like transatlantic flight, talking movies, national radio broadcasts-even the culture of celebrity we live with today. Bryson tells it all in his usual wry manner, and creates a fascinating narrative. This is popular history at its best – one to try even if you don’t normally like history.

 


$28.95
ISBN-13: 9780385532921
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Doubleday, 8/2013

John's September 2013 pick

Scott Anderson tells the story of the First World War in the Middle East through the stories of four men – T.E. Lawrence (British), Curt Prufer (German), William Yale (American) & Aaron Aaronsohn (Palestinian Jew). Lawrence dominates the tale, of course, but all the men affect the events before & during the war that lead to the Arab Revolt and helped create the Middle East as we know it today. Anderson is a fine writer and gives us an exciting narrative. Essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle East or who wants to understand the real Lawrence as opposed to the legend.


$28.00
ISBN-13: 9781594161643
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Westholme Publishing, 10/2012
John's November 2012 pick
Many regard politics today as being uniquely uncivil. This book is a reminder that things could be much worse.
On May 22, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was brutally beaten by pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina on the floor of the US Senate. Stephen Puleo (author of Dark Tide: the Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919) does a fine job of narrating this incident (a key turning point on the path to Civil War) and its aftermath.

$35.00
ISBN-13: 9780307273598
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf, 11/2011

April 2012

Do we need another history of World War II? The answer is yes, when it's as well written and engaging as this one. He gives a solid overview of battles, strategy, campaigns, etc. but the great strength of the book is the amount of attention Hastings gives to ordinary people's experience of the war.


$35.00
ISBN-13: 9780670022656
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Viking Adult, 4/2011

John's December 2011 pick

A book to appeal to railroad buffs, graphic design & map geeks (like me) or anyone for whom dreaming of a trip is almost as pleasurable as the journey itself.


$45.00
ISBN-13: 9780670022700
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Adult, 10/2011

November 2011

The author, Director of the British Museum, takes objects from throughout history to illuminate the evolution of human culture. From the sublime (Seated Buddha from Gandhara) to the mundane (the credit card), MacGregor uses these things to tell the story of mankind in a dramatically original way.


The Art Museum (Hardcover)

$125.00
ISBN-13: 9780714856520
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Phaidon Press, 9/2011

November 2011

With over 2500 of the world's greatest works of art, this oversized (1000 pages, 19 x 14 inches) volume may be the most comprehensive history of art ever published. If the price gives you pause ($160 at Gibson's) consider what the cost would be to see all these masterpieces in person!


New books, new trailers

Tuesday, September 16th, 7 p.m., Hugo Award-winning science fiction author John Scalzi joins us to present his newest novel, Lock In. While you eagerly await, check out this book theme song, commissioned by Scalzi, and written and performed by indie rocker William Beckett.

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