Items tagged with Book clubs

History Book Discussion: Washington's Crossing

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Join a discussion of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer. Six months after the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was all but lost. The book reveals the crucial role Washington's crossing played in the American Revolution and highlights how the startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning.

A powerful British force had routed the Americans at New York, occupied three colonies, and advanced within sight of Philadelphia. Yet, as David Hackett Fischer recounts in this riveting history, George Washington--and many other Americans--refused to let the Revolution die. On Christmas night, as a howling nor'easter struck the Delaware Valley, he led his men across the river and attacked the exhausted Hessian garrison at Trenton, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men. A second battle of Trenton followed within days. The Americans held off a counterattack by Lord Cornwallis's best troops, then were almost trapped by the British force. Under cover of night, Washington's men stole behind the enemy and struck them again, defeating a brigade at Princeton. The British were badly shaken. In twelve weeks of winter fighting, their army suffered severe damage, their hold on New Jersey was broken, and their strategy was ruined. Fischer's richly textured narrative reveals the crucial role of contingency in these events. We see how the campaign unfolded in a sequence of difficult choices by many actors, from generals to civilians, on both sides. While British and German forces remained rigid and hierarchical, Americans evolved an open and flexible system that was fundamental to their success. The startling success of Washington and his compatriots not only saved the faltering American Revolution, but helped to give it new meaning.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

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History Book Discussion: Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

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Join a discussion of Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan. For six months in 1919, after the end of “the war to end all wars,” the Big Three—President Woodrow Wilson, British prime minister David Lloyd George, and French premier Georges Clemenceau—met in Paris to shape a lasting peace. In this landmark work of narrative history, Margaret MacMillan gives a dramatic and intimate view of those fateful days, which saw new political entities—Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Palestine, among them—born out of the ruins of bankrupt empires, and the borders of the modern world redrawn.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

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History Book Discussion: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

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Join a discussion of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler. A kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in 1977, The Bronx Is Burning is the story of two epic battles: the fight between Yankee Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch for the city's mayorship. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts--one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city--was the subtext of race.

Deftly intertwined by journalist Jonathan Mahler, these braided Big Apple narratives reverberate to reveal a year that also saw the opening of Studio 54, the acquisition of the New York Post by Rupert Murdoch, a murderer dubbed the "Son of Sam," the infamous blackout, and the evolution of punk rock. As Koch defeated Cuomo, and as Reggie Jackson rescued a team racked with dissension, 1977 became a year of survival--and also of hope.

The Bronx Is Burning was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the basis of the 2007 ESPN miniseries, starring John Turturro as Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

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History Book Discussion: No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

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Join a discussion of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, No Ordinary Time is a monumental work, a brilliantly conceived chronicle of one of the most vibrant and revolutionary periods in the history of the United States. With an extraordinary collection of details, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of story lines—Eleanor and Franklin’s marriage and remarkable partnership, Eleanor’s life as First Lady, and FDR’s White House and its impact on America as well as on a world at war. Goodwin effectively melds these details and stories into an unforgettable and intimate portrait of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt and of the time during which a new, modern America was born.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

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Sybil Steinberg's New Book Picks

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Sybil Steinberg Westporter Sybil Steinberg, contributing editor and former book review section editor for Publishers Weekly, returns with more ideas for your fall reading with her ever-popular talk on the best new reads.

Location: Suzuki Music School of Westport, 246 Post Rd East

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PageTurners Book Discussion

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Discuss Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Orphaned at an early age, Jane Eyre, leads a lonely life until she finds a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There she meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester and sees a ghostly woman who roams the halls at night.What is the sinister secret that threatens Jane and her new found happiness?

Location: Suzuki Music School of Westport, 246 Post Rd East

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.

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PageTurners Book Discussion

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Discuss Americanah by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.

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PageTurners Discuss "Killers of the Flower Moon"

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Join PageTurners for a discussion of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.

This New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist is a true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. The book investigates a series of murders of wealthy Osage people that took place the early 1920s—after big oil deposits were discovered beneath their land. A young bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover was determined to crack the case and stop the bloodshed. This was the beginning of a federal law enforcement agency: the FBI.

PageTurners Book Club page

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome. Information on more Library book groups.

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History Book Discussion: Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations

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Join a discussion of Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell, the true story of an adventurous life of historical import.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821.

She has been called the female Lawrence of Arabia, which, while not inaccurate, fails to give Gertrude Bell her due. She was at one time the most powerful woman in the British Empire: a nation builder, the driving force behind the creation of modern-day Iraq. Born in 1868 into a world of privilege, Bell turned her back on Victorian society, choosing to read history at Oxford and going on to become an archaeologist, spy, Arabist, linguist, author (of Persian Pictures, The Desert and the Sown, and many other collections), poet, photographer, and legendary mountaineer (she took off her skirt and climbed the Alps in her underclothes).

She traveled the globe several times, but her passion was the desert, where she traveled with only her guns and her servants. Her vast knowledge of the region made her indispensable to the Cairo Intelligence Office of the British government during World War I. She advised the Viceroy of India; then, as an army major, she traveled to the front lines in Mesopotamia. There, she supported the creation of an autonomous Arab nation for Iraq, promoting and manipulating the election of King Faisal to the throne and helping to draw the borders of the fledgling state.

Gertrude Bell, vividly told and impeccably researched by Georgina Howell, is a richly compelling portrait of a woman who transcended the restrictions of her class and times, and in so doing, created a remarkable and enduring legacy.

" … there’s never a dull moment in the peerless life of this trailblazing character." - Kirkus Reviews

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New Date: The Usual Suspects Mystery Book Discuss "Greenmantle"

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Facilitator Kelle Ruden leads a discussion of Greenmantle by John Buchan. Set during WWI, Richard Hannay, hero of The Thirty-Nine Steps, travels across war-torn Europe in search of a German plot and an Islamic Messiah. He is joined by three more of Buchan's heroes: Peter Pienaar, the old Boer Scout; John S. Blenkiron, the American determined to fight the Kaiser; and Sandy Arbuthnot, Greenmantle himself, modelled on Lawrence of Arabia. The intrepid four move in disguise through Germany to Constantinople and the Russian border toface their enemies: the grotesque Stumm and the evil beauty of Hilda von Einem.

Note this is a new, re-scheduled date.

For copies of the book, phone 203.291.4821. New participants always welcome.

Guide to the WestportREADS books and program.

WestportREADS 2018 is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

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