history

"A Light that Never Goes Out: the Enduring Saga of The Smiths" by Tony Fletcher

Vita's picture

This is a detailed story of the band The Smiths by a clearly ardent fan that would certainly be of interest to other fans of the band (like myself), but also to anyone following the history of indie music. They are such an English band, and the author details many locations and subtexts that may not be readily apparent to those who are not native Mancunians or familiar with British pop culture and local history. He talks about all of the band’s influences and shows the reader where they fit into musical history. This is a really thick book of 704 pages covering the span of the band’s life, so there’s a lot of detail here, considering they were only together for 6 years.

The Great Charter

Laura's picture

Prepare to hear a lot about the Magna Carta over the coming months.  This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of one of the most important documents in Western law and government. Without a doubt there will be many references to it in the media.

On June 15, 1215 King John of England signed a document that guaranteed certain fundamental rights to his English subjects as demanded by a group of powerful barons. 

Specific rights that were born in the Magna Carta are

Signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede England in 1215

  • trial by jury
  • due process
  • habeas corpus
  • equality under the law

Find more information at this comprehensive British website and the American Bar Association website.

Find a biographical sketch of King John of England “one of the most villainous kings of England” in the Gale Biography in Context Database on the Upper Arlington Public Library website.

Find topic overviews in the electronic reference books Encyclopedia of the American Constitution and the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law.

View an old discolored and tattered copy of the Magna Carta at National Geographic Eyewitness to History online.

View a readable version of the document in World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras

Each source will lead you to other sources.  Remember, if you are looking at these sources from outside the library you will be prompted to enter your library card number before going to the website.  

And don’t forget, you can always contact a Reference Librarian by phone, textemail, or in person for assistance in using our databases and eBooks.

Logo - Gale Biography in ContextLogo - Nat Geo Eyewitness to HistoryLogo - World History Ancient and Medieval Eras database Logo - Gale Encyclopedia of American Law

When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II, by Molly Guptill Manning

Caitlin's picture

On May 10, 1933, German students (with official encouragement) burned an estimated 25,000 books in a symbolic act meant to “purify” Germany of Jewish influence. The Nazis would continue to burn books throughout their reign, both in their country and in the countries they invaded, in an attempt to stamp out any thought they deemed dangerous to National Socialism, ultimately destroying over 100 million volumes. People around the world reacted in outrage and horror, and in the US, groups of librarians, citizens, politicians, writers, and publishers came together to fight back. Through organized book donation drives and the invention of an entirely new book format—the Armed Services Edition—these fighters in World War II’s “War of Ideas” put 132 million books in the hands of American servicemen and their allies. Their work inspired an entire generation with a love of reading and enshrined books like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as American classics. When Books Went to War tells their unforgettable story.

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!

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