history

Rewind 75 Years: April 1940

Katie's picture

Public domain photo of Booker T. WashingtonWhen we think of 1940, World War II may be one of the first events to come to our minds, but that's not all that was happening in the world at that time. Our reference materials make it easy for you to dig back into our past and, not only learn about the war, but see what else was happening in April 1940. Here are just a few highlights:

  • On April 7, 1940 Booker T. Washington (pictured above) became the first African American to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp.
  • Dr. John Enders announced the isolation of the mumps virus in April 1940, which made serums and vaccines possible. See what else was going on with health and medicine in the 1940's.
  • In the months before Germany's blitzkrieg in May 1940, WWII in Europe came to a standstill which became known as the Phony War. This lull gave Germany the opportunity to replenish their supplies and equipment and prepare for their next strike.
  • Back in the United States, students at University of California, Berkeley held a strike for peace.
  • The first electron microscope, which weighed almost 700 pounds, was demonstrated in Philadelphia, PA
  • April 29, 1940 was the first broadcast of The Bell Telephone Hour on NBC Radio. This program featured a variety of musicians and entertainment and ran for 18 years.
  • This month marked the first time Robin appeared as Batman's sidekick in an issue of Detective Comic.

Our world has come a long way in just 75 years. It makes you wonder what discoveries and developments are in store for us in 2090, only 75 years from now. 

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, by Paul Fischer

Caitlin's picture

In this fascinating book, film producer Paul Fischer combines interviews, research, and first-hand investigation to tell the strange story of Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of South Korea’s leading director and his star actress ex-wife. Obsessed with film since he was a child, Kim Jong-Il used North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda to build his power within the regime, making the only movies that the isolated North Korean people were allowed to view. As Kim’s ambitions eclipsed his country’s limited filmmaking ability, he decided to recruit new talent—forcibly.

Choi Eun-Hee was South Korea’s biggest and most beloved star; Shin Sang-Ok, her director ex-husband, ran the largest film production company in South Korea. Kim kidnapped both in 1978, and after torturing Shin into compliance, the two began making films for North Korea’s captive audience. With success—their films played to packed theaters for months and won international awards—came the opportunity to escape via a chase straight out of a spy novel.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history and culture of North Korea. 

Daily Life Through History

Katie's picture

One of our reference databases that I find most interesting is Daily Life Through History. It allows you to revisit past times and places throughout history and learn what a typical day was like for the people living there, including details of their home life, diets, and common ceremonies. Here are some examples of the great stuff you can explore:

  • The location of Cahokia: It was a settlement in the Southeast/Midwest region of North America during the years 900-1500 AD. It was about the size that London is today and was populated by the Mississippian culture, who constructed mound dwellings and excelled at stone carving, pottery, woodwork, weaponry, and agriculture.
  • Sports and recreation during the Han Dynasty: During this dynasty, which reigned from 260-220 BC, people commonly enjoyed activities such as archery, fencing, boxing, equestrian activities, and even an early version of tug of war. Their sports and physical education were strongly influenced at that time by military training practices.
  • Education in British and Dutch Africa: The database discusses African education mainly during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and explained that young children primarily learned about traditions, customs, and cultures by observing and imitating their elders. Upon their initiation into adulthood, they began a period of more formal education.
  • Food and drink in Victorian England: The working class and rural laborers in the early 1800's had diets that consisted mainly of bread, potatoes, and tea with bacon added for flavoring once or twice a week. Middle and upper class families enjoyed a more diverse menu which could include vegetable-marrow soup, lemon dumplings, boiled mackerel, and macaroni and cheese.

If you've got a time period or culture that you're interested in, you should definitely check out this database to learn more about how the people actually lived.

Daily Life Through History logo

Delicious! By Ruth Reichl

Colleen's picture

Billie Breslin has an incredible gift. She can identify any flavor, no matter how subtle, with just one taste. Follow Billie as she moves to New York City to pursue a career in food journalism at the well known Delicous! Magazine. Away from her family and feeling out of place in a new city, Billie learns to find total comfort in her eclectic coworkers. 

I love reading. I love food. I especially love reading about food. Delicious! is a fun read and is filled with so many twists I never expected. It's a story with a rich history, intriguing characters, and I guarantee your mouth will water more than once.

NEW! 4 additions to our Virtual Reference Collection

Ann's picture

Take a peek at the latest resources added to our virtual reference “shelf.” Access our online reference volumes and databases 24/7! All you need is your UA Library card and PIN:

Cover image of book: Clothing and Fashion

  • Clothing and Fashion Examines the historical significance of fashion trends, revealing the social and cultural connections of clothing from precolonial years to the present. As seen through the lens of the clothes we wear–from the Native American moccasin to Manolo Blahnik's stiletto heels. Lots of color images!
  • America in the World, 1776 to the Present  A transnational view of US history, focusing on the role of the US, while also analyzing how the world has influenced our country. It discusses the increasingly important role of the US, from the early days of the republic to the present. Lots of images.
  • Encyclopedia of Modern Ethnic Conflicts Uses case studies to explore acts of violence between ethnic or national communities. An ideal reference to quickly gain an understanding of ethnic struggles across the globe.
  • Mental Health and Mental Disorders A comprehensive view of mental health that addresses both mental well-being and illness. Covering the full continuum of mental health, the set describes biology and neurology of the brain, emotions, and the traits and characteristics of mental well-being.

Also, America's Top-Rated Cities, America's Top-Rated Smaller Cities, and Comparative Guide to American Suburbs were updated.

To access these anytime:

  1. Go to www.ualibrary.org
  2. Move the mouse over the heading ‘Research’ at the top of the page
  3. Select 'Databases' from the drop-down menu, and click on a database or eBook for access
  4. Enter the 10-digit number on the back of your library card, your PIN number, and click 'Log In.'

Take some time to explore the e-resources UA Library makes available through our website. In addition to our reference books and databases, we offer e-books, e-magazines, and movies and music downloads. Click Explore on the library’s home page!

Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell

Scott's picture

To meet one’s Waterloo” has become a phrase in popular culture meaning a decisive defeat. It's fitting this term has endured because The Battle of Waterloo is considered a history-changing battle. In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the island of Elba, where he had been exiled. He immediately headed to France to reunite the French army, which was always fiercely loyal to him, and to expand the French Empire. Although considered one of the greatest military minds in history, the author indicates Napoleon made some questionable moves and interesting assumptions at Waterloo.

Bernard Cornwell artfully sets the stage for this epic battle and details the events as they unfold. The author’s use of primary sources (letters from the soldiers) gives the reader a vivid account of the brutality of the battle that cost the lives of over 65,000 people. This is an exceptional account that will satisfy anybody with an interest in the Battle of Waterloo.

 

Biographies for African American History Month

Kevin's picture

February is full of holidays, including Presidents Day and Valentines Day. It's also African-American History Month (which, I guess is a holi-month). This weeks eBooks feature biographies on this theme.

Since we are all a little short on time, I've picked three, concise ebooks, aimed at a younger audience, but with enough information to interest any age. Check one out, and learn more about a few of the African-Americans who have shaped our country.

 

Cuban History

Kevin's picture

In the last month, the United States has taken steps to restart diplomatic relations with Cuba, including a face-to-face meeting between the two countries' presidents. These are the highest level meetings in more than 50 years.

If you're interested in learning more about Cuba, check out one of the books below and explore the colorful and controversial history of our southern neighbor.

Happy Reading!

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