About Time: The Big Picture

Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present by Cynthia Stokes Brown
An ambitious, exciting history of the earth, from its origins to the development of civilizations to the spread of computers.

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky takes us on an entertaining and informative romp through the centuries, showing the enormous influence of a humble item – salt.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
This sweeping and controversial account of trends which led to European dominance in recent human history makes a compelling, thought-provoking and highly readable case for environment as opposed to biology.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
With his trademark humor and entertaining style, Bryson tackles a vast subject: the history of life on earth.

About Time: Dark Days and Deeds

The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly
Kelly provides a detailed and readable examination of the black death, which killed about a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century.

The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day by Bella Bathurst
An engrossing, multi-angled history that envelops the reader in the unique (and vanishing) culture of all things related to ships and shipwrecks. Continue reading “About Time: Dark Days and Deeds”

About Time: Shaping the Nation

1776 by David McCullough
Pulitzer prize winning historian McCullough brings a fresh perspective to a pivotal and turbulent year in our country’s founding, focusing on the two famous Georges as well as the troops on both sides.

Ladies of Liberty: The Women who Shaped our Nation by Cokie Roberts
Based on personal letters and journals, this readable narrative looks at the roles played by some women – including Abigail Adams and Sacajawea – who were significant in our country’s development.

Mr. Lincoln’s T-mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler
A lively account of how President Lincoln embraced the new technology of the telegraph Continue reading “About Time: Shaping the Nation”

About Time: Discovering America

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann
Recent research upends our previously held notions, showing that the pre-Columbian Americas were more densely populated and the Native cultures and governments more sophisticated than we had once imagined.

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
A fresh look at the Pilgrims’ arrival and the settlement of Plymouth Colony, focusing on the interplay of personalities that led to war between the European settlers and the Native Americans. 

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America by Russell Shorto
Present-day New York City was a Dutch colony in the early 1600s. Learn how the lively Continue reading “About Time: Discovering America”

Science: Our Family Tree

The Richness of Life: the essential Stephen Jay Gould by Stephen Jay Gould  2007 

A wide-ranging collection of essays culled from 3 decades of writing by the paleontologist known for being the passionate voice of popular science.

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: an intimate portrait of Charles Darwin and the making of his theory of evolution by David Quammen 2006 

Drawing on private letters and notebooks, Quammen elegantly elucidates Darwin’s ideas as well as his personal life.

Before the Dawn: recovering the lost history of our ancestors by Nicholas Wade 2006

Drawing on new genetic research, Wade looks at how human ancestors in Africa were transformed by the development of language.  He also shows how DNA findings cast new light on other areas of history.

Nature via Nurture: genes, experience, and what makes us human by Matt Ridley 2003 

Ridley examines the human genome and environmental factors, exploring how their interplay influences who we are.

Evolution for Everyone: how Darwin’s theory can change the way we think about our lives by David Sloan Wilson 2007

A fresh, humorous and engaging look at the fascinating ways in which evolution is part of our existence – why do dogs have curly tails, anyway? – and how it connects us all.