Here are some historical books that have crossed our desks recently.
"ARTIC OBSESSIONS: The Lure of the Far North," by Alexis Troubetzkoy, Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 304 pages (nf)
Traces the historical accounts of travelers to the Canadian Arctic from 325 B.C. to present day and reviews contemporary issues facing the area that spans several continents.
"A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD," illustrated edition, by E.H. Gombrich, Yale Univeristy Press, $29.95, 304 pages (nf)
In 40 chapters, E.H. Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone ages to the atomic bomb, and in between are wars, conquests, artwork and science. This edition includes more than 200 illustrations.
"ROBERTSON'S BOOK OF FIRSTS: Who Did What for the First Time," by Patrick Robertson, Bloomsbury, $35, 576 pages (nf)
Listed in alphabetical order, Patrick Robertson has listed hundreds of firsts, including canned goods, zoo, 3D film (in 1943 in the former USSR) and supermarket, in what has taken 50 years to compile.
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More hardbacks recently released:
"A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 100 OBJECTS," by Neil MacGregor: Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, picked 100 objects from the museum, from the hand axe to the credit card and a solar-powered lamp and charger, and found experts to comment on each. There are move than 150-plus photos throughout as he weaves through wars, work tools, religion and cultures.
"THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT: A Novel in Pictures," by Caroline Preston (f): Frankie Pratt is a young woman from New Hampshire who was given a scrapbook and a typewriter for her graduation in 1920. In this scrapbook, Frankie tells of staying home to help her mother, finding love and eventually going to school and Paris in search of adventure.
"VERDI'S SHAKESPEARE: Men of the Theater," by Garry Wills (nf): The examination of three operas, "Macbeth," "Othello" and "Falstaff," that were based on Shakespeare's plays.
"THE LANGUAGE WARS: A History of Proper English," by Henry Hitchings (nf): Exploring the disputes in the English language from Shakespeare to contemporary culture.
"THE FRIAR OF CARCASSONNE: Revolt Against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars," by Stephen O'Shea (nf): The story of a Franciscan friar, Bernard Delicieux, rallied a terrorized group of townspeople in a revolt against religious zealotry.
"LONG WAY TO TEXAS: Three Novels," by Elmer Kelton (f): The three Western adventure novels include: "Joe Pepper" — as the title character tells, how Pepper ended up on the wrong side of the law; "Long Way to Texas" — set just after the Civil War and the story of a remnant of Confederate riflemen who are under siege; and "Eyes of the Hawk" — the story of a man who doesn't easily forgive and will destroy the town before yielding to an insolent ranchman rival.
"EIGHT PIECES OF EMPIRE: A 20-Year Journey through the Soviet Collapse," by Lawrence Scott Sheets (nf): A foreign correspondent shares both professional and personal observations of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
"THE SISTERS," by Nancy Jensen (f): Set in the Depression, two sisters are divided when good intentions go terribly wrong and a chain of misunderstandings follows that reverberates through their families, including their daughters and granddaughters.
"CHINA IN TEN WORDS," by Yu Hua, translated by Allan Barr (nf): Using 10 common phrases in Chinese vernacular, Yu Hua looks at the Chinese experience during the last few decades.
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