History by Twitter and some other great picks

In this month’s pick on new history books you’ll find ‘The Twitter Year’, a look at 2011 through the medium of social media. Ever wondered where your name comes from and how it relates to your family history?  Take a peek at ‘Surnames, DNA, and Family History’.  ‘The good, the bad & the unlikely: Australia’s prime ministers’ shows us that maybe our lot aren’t that bad after all; and Michael E. Smith has an up-to-date revisionist look at the history behind the interesting Aztec peoples.  Enjoy! 

Syndetics book coverThe Twitter year : 365 days in 140 characters / compiled by Kate Bussmann.
“The first ever social-media almanac presents 12 months as witnessed by the 100-million-strong tweeting community. It captures a dramatic year in news, culture and sport, from the death of Osama Bin laden to the Royal Wedding – all told through tweets, graphics and fascinating facts. Distilling from the 230 million tweets that are now sent each day, this is history through a lens.” (Library Catalogue)
In the year the social network celebrates its 5th birthday, Twitter continues to grow at an incredible rate. There are now over 200 million accounts across the world, including Lady Gaga, the British monarchy, Lord Voldemort and a lot of pets. A Twitter Year gathers some of the funniest and sharpest tweets to bring you a unique celebration of the way we talk now. (Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverSurnames, DNA, and family history / George Redmonds, Turi King, and David Hey.
“This book combines linguistic and historical approaches with the latest techniques of DNA analysis and show the insights these offer for every kind of genealogical research. It focuses on British names, tracing their origins to different parts of the British Isles and Europe and revealing how names often remain concentrated in the districts where they first became established centuries ago. In the process the book casts fresh light on the ancient peopling of the British Isles. The authors consider why some names die out, and how others have spread across the globe. They use recent advances in DNA testing to discover whether particular surnames have a single, dual or multiple origins and whether various forms of a name have a common origin. They show how information from DNA canbe combined with historical evidence and techniques to distinguish between individuals with the same name and different names with similar spellings and to identify the name of the same individual or family spelt in various ways in different times and places. Clearly written and illustrated with hundreds of examples, this book will be welcomed by all those engaged in genealogical research, including everyone seeking to discover the histories of their names and families.” (Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverThe good, the bad & the unlikely : Australia’s prime ministers / Mungo MacCallum.
Good drinkers, bad swimmers and unlikely heroes. Since the nation’s birth in 1901, twenty-seven politicians have sat in Australia’s driving seat. Their time at the top has ranged from eight days for Frank Forde to eighteen years for Bob Menzies. Whatever the length of their term, each prime minister has a story worth sharing. Edmund Barton united the bickering states in a federation; Billy Hughes knocked US president Woodrow Wilson down a peg or two. The unlucky Jimmy Scullin took office days before Wall Street crashed into the Great Depression, while John Curtin admirably rose to the challenge of wartime leadership. The much-loved Ben Chifley refused to wear a dinner suit to meet the king, and Jolly John Gorton’s partying lost him the job. With characteristic wit and expert political knowledge, Mungo MacCallum brings the nation’s leaders to life on the page. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UNLIKELY tells the fascinating tales of the men and woman who’ve had a fair crack at running the country. It is a wonderfully entertaining education. (Global Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverThe Aztecs / Michael E. Smith.
“Smith provides a compelling reinterpretation of the standard history of the Aztec empire. Based upon archaeological research conducted during the past 15 years, rather than on subjective chronicles recorded by conquering Spaniards, this revisionist analysis offers a fresh perspective on the political, cultural, and social institutions and mores of the Aztecs. Detailed accounts of the Aztec approach to government, design, urban planning, economics, science, religion, the arts, and literature are also included. In addition, the author offers both an examination of the inevitable destruction and demise of the Aztec empire and a dynamic overview of the modern impact of the Aztec legacy. A significant contribution to the history of an impressive society of Native Americans. –Margaret FlanaganFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)