Posted in Biography Georgia Local History Non-Fiction Reviews

review: Martha Berry: A Woman of Courageous Spirit and Bold Dreams

Martha Berry: A Woman of Courageous Spirit and Bold Dreams by Joyce Blackburn This young adult biography was first published in 1968 and reissued in 1986 with photos and an author’s postscript. Martha Berry was the founder of The Berry Schools (later called Berry College) in Rome, Georgia. She had an early interest in the “mountain people” at the foot of the Appalachian mountains in Northwest Georgia. She noticed they lacked any sort of schooling and she meant to change that. With the land that her father had passed on, she built first a boy’s school and later a girl’s school with the motto, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” The students would work and learn at the same time. Though the school…

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Posted in 20th Century Children's Books Non-Fiction Reviews

review: The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Claire A. Nivola This story follows a boy named Nek Chand as he grows up in the village of Barian Kalan in the Punjab region of what is now Pakistan. He had an ideal childhood, learning his people’s history and legends through the work and festivities of every season. When the Hindu people were expelled from the land, they traveled to India, where a disenchanted Nek hated the drab industrial landscape. Feeling nostalgic for his childhood dreams, he began building his own secret kingdom in the jungle outskirts. Years pass, and when his project is discovered, both the government and the people weigh in on the…

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Posted in 19th Century 20th Century Gilded Age Non-Fiction

Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners

This one is non-fiction, but caught my eye today. Looks like an interesting biography…her life would make an intriguing novel! Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge BOOK DESCRIPTION “What would Emily Post do?” Even today, Americans cite the author of the perennial bestseller Etiquette as a touchstone for proper behavior. But who was the woman behind the myth, the authority on good manners who has outlasted all comers? Award-winning author Laura Claridge presents the first authoritative biography of the unforgettable woman who changed the mindset of millions of Americans, an engaging book that sweeps from the Gilded Age to the 1960s. Born shortly after the Civil War, Emily Post was a daughter of high society, the only…

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Posted in America American Revolution Non-Fiction Reviews

review: Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America

Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America by Teri Kanefield Alexander Hamilton is much in the news lately, particularly with the Broadway play in such demand, and the current political atmosphere. This young adult biography is approximately 200 pages and includes a birth-to-death account of the life of this extraordinary founding father. It covers many important topics, such as mercantilism, checks and balances, tariffs, and, of course, the Federalist papers and the Constitution. It’s filled with drawings, paintings and portraits, as well as clearly labeled title pages with Alexander Hamilton quotes beneath. Visually appealing, well-paced, and simplistic enough to hold the interest of young readers, it is also a pleasant recap for adults.

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Posted in America Depression Era Non-Fiction Reviews

review: Country Folklore 1920’s & 1930’s

Country Folklore 1920’s & 1930’s …and That’s the Way It Was by Louise K. Nelson This gem of a book offers invaluable resources for writers of the Depression Era in the rural areas of the South. Because the author lived through the times, the information is firsthand and authentic, if somewhat simplistic. The repetitive nature of the writing is due to the fact that it’s a collection of articles from various publications, put together to form a book. Even so, it’s a quick enjoyable read with much insight into the lifestyle of the amazingly resilient people who lived in a remote cove in western North Carolina. This book covers every aspect of farm life, from the endless daily routine of producing, tending, gathering, and preparing…

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Posted in 20th Century Non-Fiction WWII

review: Courage & Defiance

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in WWII Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson “Only a drop in the ocean, that’s what they say. Well now, the ocean consists of drops.” – Mogens Fog An emotionally affecting story based on a collection of survivors’ memoirs, this WWII account focuses on the resistance efforts in Denmark during the five years of German occupation. Readers are immediately drawn in with riveting action from the Danish spies and saboteurs—ordinary men and women who, instead of meekly surrendering their freedom and watching their fellow countrymen in danger, chose to covertly help the official resistance organizations by destroying German machinery and weaponry, disrupting their supply lines and secretly transporting the Jewish population to nearby neutral Sweden. At a great…

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Posted in Author Interview Non-Fiction

author interview: Leslie Carroll on Notorious Royal Marriages

1. There are more than 50 books and 20 articles cited as sources for Notorious Royal Marriages. The research involved is mind boggling, though you have written and published two non-fiction books. What is your typical schedule when researching and writing? Do you research as you go? First Arleigh, I’d like to say thanks so much for this interview. I’m delighted to visit Historical-fiction.com. And these are wonderful questions! I do indeed research as I go, chapter by chapter and subject by subject; although I don’t necessarily write the chapters in the chronological order in which they appear in the book. Often I’ll start with the books I already own on a given person; consequently, those are the chapters that get written first. That said,…

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Posted in Articles Author Guest Post Non-Fiction

guest post: Leslie Carroll on Royal Pains

I’m pleased to welcome Leslie Carroll with an article related to her non-fiction book, Royal Pains: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds. ROYAL PAINS NOT IN THE BOOK Royal Pains: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes and Bad Seeds Arleigh and I had fun discussing the subject of my guest post and she decided she’d like me to talk about Royal Pains that didn’t make the cut into my book. ROYAL PAINS: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds is my third nonfiction title for NAL, and as always, devising the table of contents was almost as challenging as the research itself, because there’s a never-ending parade of Pains! Ultimately I decided to narrow the field to an even dozen…

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Posted in Non-Fiction Regency Reviews

review: Georgette Heyer’s Regency World

Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester Whether you’ve read Georgette Heyer or not–or even if you don’t plan to–this book is an enlightening read for history enthusiasts or those simply wishing to learn more about the Regency era. Heyer’s novels are referred to throughout, but with plenty of details as to how they relate to the facts and information presented. Heyer fans will enjoy learning the minute details, such as the jargon or illustrations of fashion and other items spoken of (but perhaps not described in detail) in the novels. I have only read a few of her novels: Powder and Patch, An Infamous Army and Cotillion, though I own about 8 more that I plan to read at some point. A handy feature…

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Posted in 16th Century Non-Fiction Reviews Tudor

review: Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her

Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and the Men Who Loved Her by Robert Stephen Parry A unique mixture of fact and fiction, this volume contains 14 short chapters on Queen Elizabeth I’s relationships with the various men in her life—from her cold and distant father to her trusted councilors and, of course, the well-documented round of suitors. While some chapters give a brief history and descriptions of life at court, others are dedicated to a character, including a bio as well as a vignette. These fictionalized short stories display an insightful scene between the Queen and the man in question. Also included is a discussion on what the term “Virgin Queen” meant in Elizabethan times and the significance of the Queen’s astrological sign, Virgo—a link to…

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Posted in Non-Fiction Reviews

review, part I: Inglorious Royal Marriages

I’ve decided to break this into parts, since it’s a hefty book and I’d like to give an extensive review. Chapters 1 through 4 are included in this first part. Inglorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll Chapter 1 Henry VI & Margaret of Anjou Henry & Margaret’s marriage starts off badly when her impoverished father fails to provide a dowry or any other financial or political gains through their union. In fact, England lost rights to parts of their hard-won land in France as a result of the marriage. As the simple-minded Henry went in and out of madness, Margaret gained the ire of the English with her presumptuous running of the country, alienating of certain Lords, and, as many would say, giving England a…

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Posted in 16th Century Non-Fiction Reviews Tudor

review: The Fall of Anne Boleyn

The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Claire Ridgway A timeline of the final days of this controversial Queen of England, The Fall of Anne Boleyn recreates those harrowing months in 1536, with firsthand accounts, official documents and records, and court gossip. Though offering opinion here and there, many points of view are expressed from various biographers, and so there is representation from numerous sources. Veteran Tudor readers will not find much fresh information, though the format, being a day-to-day account of events, gives an easy to follow play-by-play of each accused person’s actions, beginning with his origins and introduction to court and the queen. Other key characters are also featured, with a clear understanding of his or her service (or disservice) in the royal court—most…

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