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VB Reads...Armchair Historians

Book lovers, you have heard the old adage "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it!" Well, here is your chance to prepare yourself for the future. Join the Village Books Armchair Historians Book Group - "understanding the past!" We meet the third Monday of every month from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Readings Gallery to chat, discuss, and dissect the most current and interesting history being written. We will cover all eras and topics in our quest to "know history". Join us! Unless otherwise noted, authors do not attend.

Monday, March 18, 6pm  

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder

Americans call the Second World War “the Good War.” But before it even began, America’s ally Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens—and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war’s end, German and Soviet killing sites fell behind the Iron Curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.

Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single story. With a new afterword addressing the relevance of these events to the contemporary decline of democracy, Bloodlands is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history and its meaning today. 

Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. The author of thirteen books, including the bestsellers On Tyranny and Black Earth, his work has been translated into forty languages. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin By Timothy Snyder Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781541600065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - April 26th, 2022

Monday, April 15, 6pm 

A Conspiracy of Decency by Emmy E. Werner

The people of Denmark managed to save almost their country's entire Jewish population from extinction in a spontaneous act of humanity -- one of the most compelling stories of moral courage in the history of World War II. Drawing on many personal accounts, Emmy Werner tells the story of the rescue of the Danish Jews from the vantage-point of living eyewitnesses- the last survivors of an extraordinary conspiracy of decency that triumphed in the midst of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Emmy E. Werner is a developmental psychologist and research professor at the University of California at Davis. She is the author of many books, including Through the Eyes of Innocents (Westview Press 2000); Reluctant Witnesses (Westview Press, 1998); Pioneer Children on the Journey West (Westview Press 1995).

A Conspiracy Of Decency: The Rescue Of The Danish Jews During World War II By Emmy E. Werner Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780813342788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - October 27th, 2004

Monday, May 20, 6pm  

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Hailed by the New York Times as “the most penetrating, fascinating political biography I have ever read,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s extraordinary and insightful book draws from meticulous research in addition to the author’s time spent working at the White House from 1967 to 1969.  

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a celebrated historian and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, the runaway bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, which was the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film Lincoln, and five other critically acclaimed and bestselling books. She lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: The Most Revealing Portrait of a President and Presidential Power Ever Written By Doris Kearns Goodwin Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781250313966
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin - March 26th, 2019

Monday, June 17, 6pm
 
The Great Influenza by John M. Barry
 
At the height of World War I, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease.

John M. Barry is the author of four previous books: Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed Amer­ica; Power Plays: Politics, Football, and Other Blood Sports; The Transformed Cell: Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer (cowritten with Steven Rosenberg); and The Ambition and the Power: A True Story of Washington. He lives in New Orleans and Wash­ington, D.C.

 

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History By John M. Barry Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780143036494
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Penguin Books - October 4th, 2005

Monday, July 15, 6pm

Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, a bewildered nation turned to Strangers in Their Own Land to understand what Trump voters were thinking when they cast their ballots. Arlie Hochschild, one of the most influential sociologists of her generation, had spent the preceding five years immersed in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana, a Tea Party stronghold. As Jedediah Purdy put it in the New Republic, "Hochschild is fascinated by how people make sense of their lives. . . . Her] attentive, detailed portraits . . . reveal a gulf between Hochchild's 'strangers in their own land' and a new elite." Already a favorite common read book in communities and on campuses across the country and called "humble and important" by David Brooks and "masterly" by Atul Gawande, Hochschild's book has been lauded by Noam Chomsky, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and countless others.

Arlie Russell Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of her generation. She is the author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self. Three of her books have been named as New York Times Notable Books of the Year and her work appears in sixteen languages. The winner of the Ulysses Medal as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants, she lives in Berkeley, California.

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right By Arlie Hochschild Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781620973493
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: New Press - February 20th, 2018

Monday, August 19, 6pm

Myth America by Kevin M. Kruse & Julian E. Zelizer

In Myth America, Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer have assembled an all-star team of fellow historians to push back against this misinformation. The contributors debunk narratives that portray the New Deal and Great Society as failures, immigrants as hostile invaders, and feminists as anti-family warriors—among numerous other partisan lies. Based on a firm foundation of historical scholarship, their findings revitalize our understanding of American history.  

Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton University and the editor or author of five books, including White Flight and One Nation Under God. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey. 

Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and the author and editor of numerous books, most recently Burning Down the House and Abraham Joshua Heschel. He lives in New York City. 

Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past By Kevin M. Kruse, Julian E. Zelizer Cover Image
$21.99
ISBN: 9781541604667
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - December 5th, 2023

Monday, September 16, 6pm

Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, convicts—mostly black men—were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history.

A native of Leland, Mississippi, Doug Blackmon is the Wall Street Journal's Atlanta Bureau Chief. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and their two children.

Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II By Douglas A. Blackmon Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780385722704
Availability: Not in-stock currently-usually arrives within 1-14 business days
Published: Anchor - January 13th, 2009