Not everyone is looking for easy reading during the summer holidays so we thought we would recommend some interesting (but a bit weighter) history books on topics which may not have caught people’s eyes.
Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last “Wild” Indian by Orin Starn
A fasinating account of the discovery and display of the ‘Last Indian’ in the early 20th century. This book not only looks at the history of the event (who was Ishi and how did he fit into contemporary society) but also the importance and use (or ommission) of him from later accounts of Native American history.
Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley
Made famous by the film of the same name this is a beautiful look at the story behind one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. Bradley skillfully works the personal narrative of his father and the other men in the photo with the history of the Pacific conflict and end of the war.
Also: Flyboys by James Bradley
The Great Starvation Experiment by Todd Tucker
If you ever wondered what happened to those men who objected to enlisting in the war this is the book for you. This account looks at the volunteers in an experiement to help solve the problem of starvation. It is both a horrific and compelling account of a time when it was still acceptable to conduct experiments on humans and of men who wanted to support their country but were unwilling to compromise their own values and enter combat.
Also recommended: Smoke Jumpting on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objectors During World War II by Mark Matthews; Better for all the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America’s Quest for Racial Puruity by Harry Bruinius