ENGLEWOOD —Now that fall is here, my non-fiction, true story readers fall back into reading biographies, history, and documentaries. These historical documentaries present information about an event, person, place or idea from the past. In fact, these documentaries have the power to change the world. Here’s a taste of four books that might change your world.
“Emperor — A New Life of Charles V”
Geoffrey Parker, historian and author, has developed new evidence and dramatically reinterprets the ruler of the world’s first transatlantic empire. The life of Emperor Charles V (1500 – 1558) spans his rule of Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, much of Italy, and Central and South America. In this book, Parker explores the critical decisions that created and preserved this vast empire. Author James D. Tracy wrote, “A splendid book. It’s well written and engages the reader. The end result is a clear demonstration that biography remains an essential genre of historical scholarship.” Parker currently is Professor of History and associate of the Mershon Center at the Ohio State University.
This is the heroic story of the settlers who brought the American ideal Westward. Author David McCullough tells the story of these pioneers through five major characters who re-created the America they knew in a primeval wilderness, while coping with floods, fires, wolves, bears, no roads or bridges, and no guarantees. Not to mention, the sometimes hostile Indians in their paths. These were the men and women who settled the Northwest Territory that encompasses huge parcels of land including present-day Ohio. The Washington Post says, “David McCullough is one of America’s greatest living writers.” You might recall his narration of Ken Burn’s “Civil War” on PBS and his recent bestseller, “The Wright Brothers,” soon to be a movie.
Sarah Smarsh, journalist and author of this New York Times bestseller, has written a memoir of working hard and being broke in the richest country on earth. During her turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the country’s changing policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. In the book, she gives you an in-depth look at class, identity, and the perils of having less in a country known for its excess. She tells stories of real people challenging a cultural climate that embraces the term “white trash.” As author Barbara Ehrenreich said about the book, “It is poetry of the wind and snow, the two-lane roads running through wheat, the summer nights when worked-drained families drank and danced under the prairie sky. “ Smarsh is a Sharenstein Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a former professor of non-fiction writing.
“Murder in the Mountains”
This is about the Muriel Baldridge story, a 17-year old high school cheerleader who was found beaten to death in the morning of June 28, 1949 in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Not only did it shock Kentucky, but an entire nation. After an investigation with many twists and turns, including a sensational trial and a controversial verdict, the case remains unsolved. Lynn Vance Preston, a niece by marriage, wrote in the book’s Foreword, “This book needed to be written and Michael Crisp has handled it with compassion and insight. I am grateful for the way he has told the story so close to our hearts.”
Let me close by ONE.org’s statement about documentaries: “In today’s post-truth world, educating ourselves about important issues and finding variable and reliable information sources is as critical as ever. Events across the globe demand we step up and seek out quality sources of information about our world and what is happening in it.”
Reach New and Olde Pages Book Shoppe at (937) 832-3022. New and Olde Pages is located at 856 Union Blvd., Englewood.