American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

This Pulitzer prize winning biography chronicles the rise of physicist Robert J. Oppenheimer, the man in charge of the Manhattan Project.  This is a hefty book–26.5 hours as an audiobook–but the research and detail show through.  You get insight into his life, not just his time at Los Alamos but his childhood and later in life his fall from grace as a result of the McCarthyism so rampant after the war.  I enjoy history and biographies that have a lot of detail and the author manages to deliver that without losing the story or overwhelming the reader.  I knew a bit about Oppenheimer before reading this book but I now have a much better understanding of his life, impact and legacy. (Submitted by Braden).

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Threaten to Undo Us by Rose Seiler Scott

In Threaten to Undo Us, Surrey-based author Rose Seiler Scott delivers a powerful historical novel about one family’s will to survive and stay together during the tumultuous second World War. Liesel is German, but she was born and raised in Poland. Her husband, Ernst, is drafted into Hitler’s army despite his misgivings, and Liesel is left to support her ailing mother and four young children. As Stalin’s Army succeeds, Liesel finds herself forced from the only home she has ever known on the run from Poland. I really enjoyed this book–it offers a perspective of World War 2 that I haven’t read about yet. The violence and atrocities faced during the war are depicted, but not gratuitously, and it is ultimately a hopeful story of love, faith, and the will to live. (Submitted by MS).

Meet Rose at Authors Among Us: Remembering the Past in Poetry and Prose at Guildford Library on Wed, Nov 4 at 6:30pm. Call 604-598-7374 to save your spot.

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Living Out the Dream: A story of two families by Olive Caldwell Lee

This book is about two families emigrating from Ireland to the Ottawa River Valley in the 1800s.  It’s a fictionalized account of this history after the author did years of genealogical research, including some at Cloverdale Library.

I found the book to be well written and charming.  It was a fascinating and personal story of a historical Canadian experience. (Submitted by Kristen).

Meet Olive at Authors Among Us: Remembering the Past in Poetry and Prose at Guildford Library on Wed, Nov 4 at 6:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.

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Unfamiliar Fishes

Besides the sand, surf and sun, what do you really know about Hawaii? Sarah Vowell, writer and insightful groupie of American history, uses her characteristic wit and knowledge, as well as the affection she seems to hold for her country’s history (the good and the bad), to convince readers that the US colonization of Hawaii solidified the country’s imperialist position in the world. It is part history of the indigenous people of Hawaii, part that of the missionaries sent from New England to convert and colonize, as well as partly about its eventual take over by the United States. By interweaving her family’s history into the text, along with references to pop culture and Barak Obama, you don’t have to be a US history expert to enjoy it – which I certainly did. (submitted by VP)

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