Her Story picks for June
This month’s history recent picks are all about the ladies: a mystery writer touring the world; the women behind the Kennedy political men; an American woman becomes an African King (yes King not Queen!); photographic comparison of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II’s London; and a journalist on the spot during the Libyan uprising. Enjoy!
The grand tour / Agatha Christie ; edited by Mathew Prichard.
“In 1922 Agatha Christie set sail on a 10-month voyage around the British Empire with her husband as part of a trade mission to promote the forthcoming British Empire Exhibition. She kept up a detailed weekly correspondence with her mother, describing in detail the exotic places and people she encountered as the mission travelled through South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Canada. Previously unpublished letters are accompanied by hundreds of photos taken on her portable camera as well as some of the original letters, postcards, newspaper cuttings and memorabilia collected by Agatha on her trip. The Grand Tour is a book steeped in history, sure to fascinate anyone interested in the lost world of the 1920s. Coming from the pen of Britain’s biggest literary export and the world’s most widely translated author, it is also a fitting tribute to Agatha Christie and is sure to fascinate her legions of worldwide fans.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)
Jackie, Ethel, Joan : the women of Camelot / J. Randy Taraborrelli.
“The Kennedys once again are the focus of a biography, but this time the stories bring together three women who married into the famous family: Jackie Bouvier, Ethel Skakel, and Joan Bennett. Although their childhoods are briefly visited, it is the years of Camelot that are the main focus here, with much attention to its poignant collapse upon the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. Filled with anecdotes derived from an exhaustive list of sources, including interviews and personal letters, there are enough tantalizing interpersonal scenes to keep even the most experienced Kennedy watcher alert. Taraborrelli keeps true to his focus by emphasizing the wives’ reactions, feelings, and accomplishments rather than shifting to the Kennedy family members themselves. Although the narrative borders on the melodramatic at times, the comfortable pace, coupled with a rich reading by Beth Fowler, makes this a necessary purchase for any public library collection.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)
King Peggy : an American secretary, her royal destiny, and the inspiring story of how she changed an African village / Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman.King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village
“Bartels was a native of Ghana living in the U.S., working as secretary to the Ghanaian embassy, when a relative called to give her startling news. Following the death of her uncle, a village king, the council of elders had determined that she would be his successor. Bartels, who’d come to the U.S. to study and had become a U.S. citizen, hadn’t been home since the death of her mother. But she accepted the daunting prospect with determination and brio. She would rule part-time, traveling between Washington, D.C., and Ghana. Bartels, along with coauthor Herman, chronicles her journey from secretary to king of the poor and isolated village of Otuam, 60 miles from the capital of Accra. She becomes reacquainted with distant relatives and her estranged husband as she juggles responsibilities such as refurbishing the modest palace, repaving roads, and burying her uncle before the ancestors can be offended all on fees collected from fishermen and a secretary’s salary. Balancing cultural differences and sketchy finances, Bartels finds within herself the strength to tackle poverty, tradition, and personal transformation.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)
The queens’ London : the metropolis in the Diamond Jubilee years of Victoria & Elizabeth II / Jon Curry & Hugo Simms.
“In the last years of the nineteenth century, The Queen’s London: A Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Great Metropolis was published. The work, a collection of some of the finest photographs of the capital ever taken, was produced to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of her most excellent Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India. In 2012, when the eyes of the world will be on London, The Queens’ London brings this story up to date. Pairing these beautifully captured vintage views with 180 images taken from identical vantage points in the London of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, it gives the reader a fascinating perspective on the history behind London’s familiar streets.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)
Colonel Gaddafi’s hat : the real story of the Libyan uprising / Alex Crawford.
“Colonel Gadaffi’s Hat is both a gripping and deeply moving account of the Libyan uprising from the lone journalist who was able to report from the rebel army convoy that captured Green Square, in the heart of Tripoli. Alex Crawford’s daring reports were beamed across news networks from around the globe, and against a dramatic backdrop of celebratory gunfire, Alex and her team showed the world the final symbolic moments of the fall of a regime that had held power for more than 40 years. The euphoria and chaos of that atmosphere of jubilation was soon overcome by the realities of conflict, and the story of the following days that Alex so viscerally tells in this remarkable account is an eye-opening journey full of human stories that are both shocking and touching. A portrait of the last gasps of Gaddafi’s regime, Crawford’s book is an extraordinary insight into modern political conflict and the nature of journalism. The first journalist to be on the scene at a number of key points in the Libyan conflict, Alex has been arrested, shot at, tear gassed and interrogated in the course of her career, and paints a fascinating picture of war journalism. A heart-stopping ride through a dramatic moment in modern history, Colonel Gadaffi’s Hat is a window into both the craft of journalism and the amazing story of Libya’s road to Freedom.” – (adapted from Global Books in Print summary)