Having trouble finding gift items for your erudite friends and family? How about a non-fiction history book!
The Santa Claus Man, by Alex Palmer
In jazz-age New York, letters to Santa in were simply destroyed. Then along came the charismatic John Duval Gluck, who established a charity to respond to the children’s messages and send gifts. The effort was an enormous success and Duval became a celebrity. But Santa’s workshop harboured dark secrets: Duval turned out to be an accomplished con man. Just the thing for true crime fans, lovers of Christmas stories, and those interested in New York City.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson
We think we know the story of the Lusitana luxurious civilian ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1915, but Larsen’s new book shows that there is much to learn. The narrative covers the many players – passengers, the U-boat crew, British Intelligence, President Wilson – and delivers a gripping story, emotional and glamorous, tragic and true. Perfect for the history buff on your list.
S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard
Cambridge Professor of Classics Mary Beard separates fact from fiction in this fascinating (and somewhat revisionist) study of Rome’s first thousand years. She not only introduces familiar characters like Julius Caesar and Nero, but also those typically overlooked by history – women, workers, jokers, and others. Beautifully written, this is an ideal gift for anyone interested in classical antiquity.
Never Surrender, by John Kelly
This is a vivid account of the summer of 1940 when the phoney war was over, France had fallen, and England stood alone. It was clear that Hitler could not be trusted to abide by any negotiated terms, yet the British Cabinet debated bargaining with Hitler while Churchill championed the need to fight. This is a great narrative history that brings to life the characters of the main players and the attitudes of ordinary Britons. Recommended for readers of World War II history.
In Flanders Fields: 100 Years, Edited by Amanda Betts
This beautiful little book is a collection of essays centred around this most famous Canadian war poem. Contributors range from Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, Tim Cook, Frances Itani, and even Ken Dryen – who writes about how lines from the poem ended up on the wall of the Montreal Canadiens’ dressing room – to Margaret Atwood and Joseph Boyden. Archival and contemporary images are included, making this an ideal gift for any lover of Canadian history.