Eleni by Nicholas Gage

Eleni by Nicholas Gage

Eleni

by Nicholas Gage

In 1948, as civil war ravaged Greece, children were abducted and sent to communist “camps” inside the Iron Curtain. Eleni Gatzoyiannis, forty-one, defied the traditions of her small village and the terror of the communist insurgents to arrange for the escape of her three daughters and her son, Nicola. For that act, she was imprisoned, tortured, and executed in cold blood.

Nicholas Gage joined his father in Massachusetts at the age of nine and grew up to become a top New York Times investigative reporter, honing his skills with one thought in mind: to return to Greece and uncover the one story he cared about most: the story of his mother.

Eleni takes you into the heart a village destroyed in the name of ideals and into the soul of a truly heroic woman.

Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford

Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford

Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. The Impossible Task. The Incredible Journey

by Ed Stafford

In April 2008, Ed Stafford began his attempt to become the first man ever to walk the entire length of the River Amazon. Nearly two and a half years later, he had crossed the whole of South America to reach the mouth of the colossal river.

With danger a constant companion—outwitting alligators, jaguars, pit vipers and electric eels, not to mention overcoming the hurdles of injuries and relentless tropical storms—Ed’s journey demanded extreme physical and mental strength. Often warned by natives that he would die, Ed even found himself pursued by machete-wielding tribesmen and detained for murder.

However, Ed’s journey was an adventure with a purpose: to help raise people’s awareness of environmental issues. Ed had unprecedented access to indigenous communities and witnessed the devastating effects of deforestation first-hand. His story of disappearing tribes and loss of habitats concerns us all.

Ultimately though, Amazon is an account of a world-first expedition that takes readers on the most daring journey along the world’s greatest river and through the most bio-diverse habitat on Earth.

Brazil by Thomas E. Skidmore

Brazil by Thomas E. Skidmore

Brazil: Five Centuries of Change

by Thomas E. Skidmore

With a land mass larger than the continental United States, a unique culture that is part European, African, and indigenous, and the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil is one of the most important—yet one of the least understood—nations in the world.

Thomas Skidmore, a preeminent authority on Brazil, vividly traces the 500 years of Brazil’s development. Its epic story begins in the wake of Vasco da Gama’s historic circumnavigation of the globe, when another Portuguese vessel, commanded by Pedro Alvares Cabral, ran aground on the coast of Brazil in April 1500. From there Skidmore probes Portugal’s remarkable command of the vast country in the face of the advances of the Spanish, French, and Dutch colonial interests; Brazil’s compromised independence in 1822; its evolution as the center of world coffee cultivation; and the creation of the republic in the late nineteenth century. He also examines its unique forms of modernist art and literature, the dictatorship of Getulio Vargas and the military coups, and the liberal reforms of current President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Informed by the most recent scholarship available, Brazil explores the country’s many blessings: ethnic diversity, racial democracy, a vibrant cultural life, and a wealth of natural resources. But, as Skidmore writes, the Brazilians must also grapple with a history of political instability and military rule, a deplorable environmental record, chronic inflation, and international debt. An ideal choice for undergraduate and graduate courses in Latin American history, this eloquent and detailed look at Brazil will be the standard history of the country for years to come.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

by David Grann

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett and his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation—which he dubbed Z—existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate, and the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party and the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, and the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s green hell. His quest for the truth and discoveries about Fawcett’s fate and Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative.

Brazil by Michael Palin

Brazil by Michael Palin

Brazil

by Michael Palin

Brazil is one of the four new global super powers with its vast natural resources and burgeoning industries. Half a continent in size and a potent mix of races, religions and cultures, of unexplored wildernesses and bustling modern cities, it is also one of the few countries Michael Palin has never fully traveled.

In a new series for BBC1—his first for five years—he explores in his inimitable way this vast and disparate nation. From the Venezuelan border and the forests of the Lost World where he encounters the Yanomami and their ongoing territorial war with the gold miners, he follows Teddy Roosevelt’s disastrous expedition of 1914.

Journeys by river to the headwaters of the Xingu, by plane over huge tracts of forest, by steam train and by road along the Trans-Amazonica allow him to reach a kaleidoscopic mix of peoples: the indigenous hunter-gatherers of the interior, the descendents of African slaves with their vibrant culture of rituals and festivals and music, the large community of German descent who celebrate their patrimony at the biggest beer festival outside Munich, and the wealthy guachas of the Pantanal amongst them. His journey ends at the border with Uruguay and the spectacular Iguacu Falls.

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

by Candice Millard

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was on January 18, 2018, at 6:30 in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

The River of Doubt—it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.

After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.

Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful non-fiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.

From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

Jim Thorpe by Joseph Bruchac

Jim Thorpe by Joseph Bruchac

Jim Thorpe: Original All-American

by Joseph Bruchac

Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes who ever lived. He played professional football, Major League Baseball, and won Olympic gold medals in track & field. But his life wasn’t an easy one. Born on the Sac and Fox Reservation in 1887, he encountered much family tragedy, and was sent as a young boy to various Indian boarding schools—strict, cold institutions that didn’t allow their students to hold on to their Native American languages and traditions. Jim ran away from school many times, until he found his calling at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian School. There, the now-legendary coach Pop Warner recognized Jim’s athletic excellence and welcomed him onto the football and track teams.Focusing on Jim Thorpe’s years at Carlisle, this book brings his early athletic career—and especially his college football days—to life, while also dispelling some myths about him and movingly depicting the Native American experience at the turn of the twentieth century. This is a book for history buffs as well as sports fans—an illuminating and lively read about a truly great American.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

by Daniel James Brown

For readers of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled  by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

Rick Hansen by Rick Hansen and Jim Taylor

Rick Hansen by Rick Hansen and Jim Taylor

Rick Hansen: Man in Motion

by Rick Hansen & Jim Taylor

The true story of Rick Hansen’s journey around the world in a wheelchair powered by nothing but the strength in his arms and the determination in his heart. He was an athlete facing a challenge and hoping that along the way he could raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities, and raise money to fund spinal cord research, rehabilitation and awareness. If someone had told him that, two years later, he’d be a national hero and a symbol of hope for people everywhere, he’d have laughed. As it turned out, they underestimated… A motivational account of the success of Rick’s Man in Motion World Tour, the value of leadership, teamwork, and the strength of human spirit.

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