Two books this month show the fascinating stories that arise at the intersection between words and pictures. Renowned illustrator E.H. Shepard gives a first hand account of WWI through his sketchbook and Ted Danforth works through the complex entanglements between East and West through spontaneous watercolours which exemplify constant change and the ‘redrawing of history’. Also of note, a new persperctive on the work and life of Te Whiti o Rongomai at Parihaka, and a story of the heroism of two women embroiled in WWII events in the Philippines.
The hundred-year walk : an Armenian odyssey / Dawn Anahid MacKeen.
“An epic tale of one man’s courage in the face of genocide and his granddaughter’s quest to tell his story. In the heart of the Ottoman Empire as World War I rages, Stepan Miskjian’s world becomes undone. […] The Hundred-Year Walk alternates between Stepan’s saga and another journey that takes place a century later, after his family discovers his long-lost journals.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The fortunes of Africa : a 5000-year history of wealth, greed, and endeavour / Martin Meredith.
“Africa has been coveted for its riches ever since the era of the Pharaohs. […] In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonization. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimpse of their future.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The longest trail : writings on American Indian history, culture, and politics / Alvin M. Josephy, Jr
“Alvin Josephy Jr.’s groundbreaking, popular books and essays advocated for a fair and true historical assessment of Native Americans, and set the course for modern Native American studies. This collection, which includes magazine articles, speeches, a white paper, and introductions and chapters of books, gives a generous and reasoned view of five hundred years of Indian history in North America from first settlements in the East to the long trek of the Nez Perce Indians in the Northwest.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Buenos Aires : the biography of a city / James Gardner.
“In Buenos Aires, Art and culture critic James Gardner offers a colorful biography of the “Paris of the South”, from its origins and time as a colonial city, through its Golden age, the rise of Peron, and the Falklands War, to the present day. With entertaining asides about art, architecture, literature, food and dance, as well as local customs and colorful personalities, this is a rich and unique historical narrative of Buenos Aires.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Shepard’s war : E.H. Shepard : the man who drew Winnie-the-Pooh / compiled by James Campbell ; foreword by Minette Shepard.
Shepard is most widely known for his illustrations of the Winnie-the-Pooh series and The Wind in the Willows, and these drawings have become classics in their own right, iconic in the minds of children and adults everywhere. With over a hundred pieces of original artwork […] this is a unique insight into the life of an incredibly talented yet humble man and a rare visual journey into the Great War.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Eastern question : a geopolitical history in 108 maps & drawings / by Ted Danforth.
“In the 19th century, the term the ‘Eastern Question’ referred to the problem posed by the impending dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the fall of which in the second decade of the 20th engendered the modern ‘muddle’ of the Middle East in the 21st. The drawings are historical political cartoons; the maps ground the reader in the geography of time and place. Painting with a broad brush, the author sketches in the story with short texts that explain the drawings as much as the drawings illustrate the texts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Hidden Britain : secret tunnels, lost chambers and unknown passageways / Alvin Nicholas.
“This extraordinary book is a treasure chest of antiquities, gripping true stories, romantic legends, and little-known curiosities. […] Thoroughly researched and with more than 200 entries, this beautifully illustrated and highly readable book takes readers on a guided tour of a long-neglected subject. History enthusiasts, incurable romantics, and the plain curious apply within.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Te Whiti o Rongomai and the resistance of Parihaka / Danny Keenan.
“This is an account of the life and times of Te Whiti o Rongomai set against the politics and Crown policies of the nineteenth century. The book discusses the struggles Te Whiti had, as understood by some of his living relatives, against native policy of the time, and it gives insights into the motivations of Te Whiti and his actions. It explores the community at Parihaka, its resistance and the consequences of this and looks at Maori and government actions and responses up to the present day.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Life and death in the Andes : on the trail of bandits, heroes, and revolutionaries / Kim MacQuarrie.
“Unique portraits of legendary characters along South America’s mountain spine, from Charles Darwin to the present day, told by a master traveler and observer. […] Deeply observed and beautifully written, Life and Death in the Andes shows us this land as no one has before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Angels of the underground : the American women who resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II / Theresa Kaminski.
“Angels of the Underground tells the story of two American women known only as Miss U and High Pockets. […] Kaminksi highlights how women have always been active participants in war, whether or not they wear a military uniform. An impressive work of scholarship grounded in archival research and personal interviews, this is also a stunning story of courage and heroism in wartime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)