What’s HOT: Top 10 Nonfiction Books at the Library Right Now! (March 2016)

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1.) Lee by Lee Radziwill

As begun in the best-selling Happy Times, her first book with Assouline, Lee Radziwill’s colorful journey continues in the much-anticipated Lee. In this quest or privacy and freedom within a highly publicized life, Radziwill shares her unique perspective as a witness to history, recalling the numerous cultural figures she counted among her friends, from Rudolf Nureyev to Truman Capote, and quiet moments with her children in London and New York. Filled with anecdotes and personal photographs, Lee is an intimate reflection on Radziwill’s world.

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2.) Patton at the Battle of the Bulge: How the General’s Tanks Turned the Tide at Bastogne by Leo Barron

Hitler’s forces had pressed in on the small Belgian town in a desperate offensive designed to push back the Allies, starting the Battle of the Bulge. So far the U.S. soldiers had managed to repel waves of attackers and even a panzer onslaught. But as their ammunition dwindled, the weary paratroopers of the 101st Airborne could only hope for a miracle—a miracle in the form of General George S. Patton and his Third Army.

More than a hundred miles away, Patton, ordered to race his men to Bastogne, was already putting in motion the most crucial charge of his career. Tapped to spearhead his counterstrike against the Wehrmacht was the 4th Armored Division, a bloodied but experienced unit that had fought and slogged its way across France. But blazing a trail into Belgium meant going up against some of the best infantry and tank units in the German Army. Failure to reach Bastogne in time could result in the overrunning of the 101st—a catastrophic defeat that could turn the tide of the war and secure victory for the Nazis.

In Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, Army veteran and historian Leo Barron explores one of the most famous yet little told clashes of the war, a vitally important chapter in one of history’s most legendary battles.

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3.) The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson

In 1995 Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling. Nothing is funnier than Bill Bryson on the road—prepare for the total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

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4.) Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Styles

From the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, a brilliant new biography of Gen. George Armstrong Custer that radically changes our view of the man and his turbulent times.

In this magisterial biography, T. J. Stiles paints a portrait of Custer both deeply personal and sweeping in scope, proving how much of Custer’s legacy has been ignored. He demolishes Custer’s historical caricature, revealing a volatile, contradictory, intense person—capable yet insecure, intelligent yet bigoted, passionate yet self-destructive, a romantic individualist at odds with the institution of the military (he was court-martialed twice in six years).

The key to understanding Custer, Stiles writes, is keeping in mind that he lived on a frontier in time. In the Civil War, the West, and many areas overlooked in previous biographies, Custer helped to create modern America, but he could never adapt to it. He freed countless slaves yet rejected new civil rights laws. He proved his heroism but missed the dark reality of war for so many others. A talented combat leader, he struggled as amanager in the West.

He tried to make a fortune on Wall Street yet never connected with the new corporate economy. Native Americans fascinated him, but he could not see them as fully human. A popular writer, he remained apart from Ambrose Bierce, Mark Twain, and other rising intellectuals. During Custer’s lifetime, Americans saw their world remade. His admirers saw him as the embodiment of the nation’s gallant youth, of all that they were losing; his detractors despised him for resisting a more complex and promising future. Intimate, dramatic, and provocative, this biography captures the larger story of the changing nation in Custer’s tumultuous marriage to his highly educated wife, Libbie; their complicated relationship with Eliza Brown, the forceful black woman who ran their household; as well as his battles and expeditions. It casts surprising new light on a near-mythic American figure, a man both widely known and little understood.

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5.) The Golden Era of Major League Baseball: A Time of Transition and Integration by Bryan Soderholm-Difatte

When Jackie Robinson made his debut at Ebbets Field on opening day in 1947, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first major league team with a black player anywhere in its organization. By the end of the Golden Era of baseball, a period in and around the 1950s, there would be an unprecedented number of notable black players in the major leagues, including Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson. While this era is defined by integration, it was also the age of the boys of summer Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankee dominance, and the first major change in the geographic landscape of the big leagues in half a century.In The Golden Era of Major League Baseball: A Time of Transition and Integration, Bryan Soderholm-Difatte explores the significant events and momentous changes that took place in baseball from 1947 to 1960. Beginning with Jackie Robinson s rookie season in 1947, Soderholm-Difatte provides a careful and thorough examination of baseball s integration, including the struggles of black players who were not elite to break into the starting lineups. In addition, the author looks at the dying practice of player-managers, the increasing use of relief pitchers and platooning, the iconic 1951 pennant race between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, and more. Soderholm-Difatte also tells the stories of three central characters to this era, whose innovations, strategies, and vision changed the game Branch Rickey, who challenged the baseball establishment by integrating the Dodgers; Casey Stengel, whose 1949-1953 Yankees won five straight championships; and Leo Durocher, whose spy operations was a major factor in the Giants 1951 pennant surge. In an age when baseball was at the forefront of American society, integration would come to be the foremost legacy of the Golden Era. But this was also a time of innovative strategy, from the use of pinch hitters to frequent defensive substitutions. Concluding with an overview of how baseball is still evolving today, The Golden Era of Major League Baseball will be of interest to baseball fans and historians as well as to scholars examining the history of integration in sports.

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6.) Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

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7.) Franklin’s Lost Ship: The Historic Discovery of HMS Erebus by John Geiger and Alanna Mitchell

The greatest mystery in all of exploration is the fate of the 1845–1848 British Arctic Expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin. All 129 crewmen died, and the two ships seemingly vanished without a trace. The expedition’s destruction was a mass disaster spread over two years. With the vessels beset and abandoned, the crew confronted a horrific ordeal. They suffered from lead poisoning, were stricken with scurvy and, ultimately, resorted to cannibalism in their final days. The mysterious fate of the ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, has captured the public’s imagination for seventeen decades.

Now, one of Franklin’s lost ships has been found. During the summer of 2014, the Victoria Strait Expedition, the largest effort to find the ships since the 1850s, was led by Parks Canada in partnership with the Arctic Research Foundation, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and other public and private partners. The expedition used world-leading technology in underwater exploration and succeeded in a major find—the discovery of Erebus. News of the discovery made headlines around the world.

In this fully illustrated account, readers will learn about the exciting expedition, challenging search and the ship’s discovery. Featuring the first images of the Erebus, this stunning book weaves together a story of historical mystery and modern adventure.

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8.) 1946: The Making of the Modern World by Victor Sebestyen

With the end of the Second World War, a new world was born. The peace agreements that brought the conflict to an end implemented decisions that not only shaped the second half of the twentieth century, but continue to affect our world today and impact on its future. In 1946 the Cold War began, the state of Israel was conceived, the independence of India was all but confirmed and Chinese Communists gained a decisive upper hand in their fight for power. It was a pivotal year in modern history in which countries were reborn and created, national and ideological boundaries were redrawn and people across the globe began to rebuild their lives.

In this remarkable history, the foreign correspondent and historian Victor Sebestyen draws on contemporary documents from around the world – including Stalin’s briefing notes for the Potsdam peace conference – to examine what lay behind the political decision-making. Sebestyen uses a vast array of archival material and personal testimonies to explore how the lives of generations of people across continents were shaped by the events of 1946. Taking readers from Berlin to London, from Paris to Moscow, from Washington to Jerusalem and from Delhi to Shanghai, this is a vivid and wide-ranging account of both powerbrokers and ordinary men and women from an acclaimed author.

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9.) Aging Backwards: Reverse the Aging Process and Look 10 Years Younger in 30 Minutes a Day by Miranda Esmonde-White

It’s never too late to slow down, or even reverse, the effects of aging. The human body is designed to function for the full length of its life–and with gentle, full-body flexibility and strengthening exercises we can look and feel tremendous, vibrant and active at any age, and well into our senior years. After all, the body is the world’s most efficient self-healing machine. And yet, remarkably, many of us neglect the single most important system in the body–the one that makes all the others work–the muscular system.
The typical message we get as we age is that we can move less and should take it easy–exactly the wrong advice. Surprisingly, fitness enthusiasts often do as much harm to their bodies as people living sedentary lives. For example, yoga instructors get tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome from daily stress on wrists and elbows; Pilates instructors suffer pectoral and tricep muscle atrophy and even professional athletes grow overweight and suffer countless ACL, meniscus and disc injuries. Ligaments are virtually ignored by most exercises routines and yet joint health is essential in order to remain active. But these afflictions don’t happen overnight, and with Aging Backwards we can slow or prevent their onset, and often reverse their symptoms.

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10.) And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two Decades in the Middle East by Richard Engel

Based on two decades of reporting, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent’s riveting story of the Middle East revolutions, the Arab Spring, war, and terrorism seen up-close—sometimes dangerously so.

When he was just twenty-three, a recent graduate of Stanford University, Richard Engel set off to Cairo with $2,000 and dreams of being a reporter. Shortly thereafter he was working freelance for Arab news sources and got a call that a busload of Italian tourists were massacred at a Cairo museum. This is his first view of the carnage these years would pile on. Over two decades Engel has been under fire, blown out of hotel beds, taken hostage. He has watched Mubarak and Morsi in Egypt arrested and condemned, reported from Jerusalem, been through the Lebanese war, covered the whole shooting match in Iraq, interviewed Libyan rebels who toppled Gaddafi, reported from Syria as Al-Qaeda stepped in, was kidnapped in the Syrian crosscurrents of fighting. He goes into Afghanistan with the Taliban and to Iraq with ISIS. In the page-turning And Then All Hell Broke Loose, he shares his adventure tale.

Engel takes chances, though not reckless ones, keeps a level head and a sense of humor, as well as a grasp of history in the making. Reporting as NBC’s Chief-Foreign Correspondent, he reveals his unparalleled access to the major figures, the gritty soldiers, and the helpless victims in the Middle East during this watershed time. We can experience the unforgettable suffering and despair of the local populations. Engel’s vivid description is intimate and personal. Importantly, it is a succinct and authoritative account of the ever-changing currents in that dangerous land.

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About Avalon Free Public Library

Avalon is a bustling little shore town in southern NJ. Our small population of 1800 expands to about 30,000 at the height of summer. We like to think that we serve them all and then some! Our goal is to make our library available to our patrons wherever they may roam.

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