Just finished this outstanding book by Laurence Bergreen. The New York Times Book Review called it a "first-rate historical page-turner" and it is. Who knew that of the five ships in Magellan's fleet in 1519, only one would circumnavigate the globe ...and without Magellan. The detail of Magellan attempting to find a strait in the icy cold waters at the southern tip of the Americas to Asia is riveting.
Whether you read the book, which won the Pulitzer Prize, or check out the National Geographic video from the library, Jared Diamond's fascinating theories as to how and why certain civilizations advanced and others didn't are the stuff that makes history worthwhile. Columbus sailed from a country full of castles, yet none were found in the New World. Why?
Like Jared Diamond, Jeremy Black is a historian's historian. His dozens of books are scholarly yet highly readable, as is this perspective of the Revolutionary War. In the United States, we refer to it as the American Revolution. But Jeremy Black posits it really was a revolution within the British Empire. When students understand that perspective, they gain new appreciation for both sides.
Galileo Galilei was a central figure in Renaissance Italy, but he suffered a crisis of conscience over his faith and discoveries he was making with his newly invented telescope that undermined church teachings. His confessor was his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste. Told largely from the feminine perspective, which we don't get enough of in historical accounts, Galileo's Daughter adds new views as well as drama to Galileo's story.
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