• History: specific events & topics
      March 2006

      Another Man's Shoes

      by Sven Somme

      Another Man's Shoes is a gripping first-hand account of a Norwegian scientist's escape from German custody during the Second World War after his arrest for spying. Written just after the war, Sven Somme vividly describes his 200-mile trek across the mountains, pursued by German soldiers, in a bid to reach Sweden and freedom in 1944.

    • Political activism
      July 2014


      An Autobiography

      by Assata Shakur

      In 2013 Assata Shakur, founding member of the Black Liberation Army, former Black Panther and godmother of Tupac Shakur, became the first ever woman to make the FBI's most wanted terrorist list. Assata Shakur's trial and conviction for the murder of a white state trooper in the spring of 1973 divided America. Her case quickly became emblematic of race relations and police brutality in the USA. While Assata's detractors continue to label her a ruthless killer, her defenders cite her as the victim of a systematic, racist campaign to criminalize and suppress black nationalist organizations. This intensely personal and political autobiography reveals a sensitive and gifted woman, far from the fearsome image of her that is projected by the powers that be. With wit and candour Assata recounts the formative experiences that led her to embrace a life of activism. With pained awareness she portrays the strengths, weaknesses and eventual demise of black and white revolutionary groups at the hands of the state. A major contribution to the history of black liberation, destined to take its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military
      May 2015

      Dustoff 7-3

      Saving Lives under Fire in Afghanistan

      by Erik Sabiston

      This book is for heroes. Dustoff 7-3 tells the true story of four unlikely heroes in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, where medics are forced to descend on wires to reach the wounded and helicopter pilots must fight wind, weather, and enemy fire to pluck casualties from some of the world's most difficult combat arenas. Complete opposites thrown together, cut off, and outnumbered, Chief Warrant Officer Erik Sabiston and his flight crew answered the call in a race against time, not to take lives-but to save them. The concept of evacuating wounded soldiers by helicopter developed in the Korean War and became a staple during the war in Vietnam where heroic, unarmed chopper crews flew vital missions known to the grateful grunts on the ground as Dustoffs. The crew of Dustoff 7-3 carried on that heroic tradition, flying over a region that had seen scores of American casualties, known among veterans as the Valley of Death. At the end of Operation Hammer Down, they had rescued 14 soldiers, made three critical supply runs, recovered two soldiers killed in action, and nearly died. It took all of three days.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military
      February 2012

      Fahim Speaks

      A Warrior-Actor's Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back

      by Fahim Fazli with Michael Moffett

      Fahim Fazli is a man of two worlds: Afghanistan, the country of his birth, and America, the nation he adopted and learned to love. He's also a man who escaped oppression, found his dream profession, and then paid it all forward by returning to Afghanistan as an interpreter with the U.S. Marines. When Fahim speaks, the story he tells is harrowing, fascinating, and inspiring. Born and raised in Kabul, Fahim saw his country and family torn apart by revolution and civil war. Dodging Afghan authorities and informers with his father and brother, Fahim made his way across the border to Pakistan and then to America. After reuniting with his mother, sisters, and another brother, he moved to California with dreams of an acting career. After 15 turbulent years that included two unsuccessful arranged marriages to Afghan brides, he finally qualified for membership in the Screen Actors Guild-and found true American love. Though Fahim's California life was happy and rewarding, he kept thinking about the battlefields of Afghanistan. Haunted by a desire to serve his adopted country, he became a combat linguist. While other interpreters opted for safe assignments, Fahim chose one of the most dangerous: working with the Leathernecks in embattled Helmand Province, where his outgoing personality and deep cultural understanding made him a favorite of both Marines and local Afghans-and a pariah to the Taliban, who put a price on his head. Fahim Speaks is an inspiring story of perseverance and patriotism-and of the special love that one man developed for his adopted country. A gold medal winner from the Military Writers Society of America

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military
      September 2011

      Fifty Years in Politics and the Law

      by The Rt Hon Lord Morris of Aberavon (Author)

      There is no other inside account from a minister who was at the Cabinet Committee table drafting devolution proposals, first in his role as Welsh Secretary and then as Attorney General. He is one of the very few who served as a minister in four Labour governments under Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan and Tony Blair between 1965-1999. His account, put in a narrative form, of the role of the Law Officers in the Kosovo War is unique, where as Attorney General he developed the doctrine of armed intervention in the affairs of another state – without a Security Council Resolution, in order to avert an overwhelming humanitarian disaster, culminating in his appearance as Counsel for the United Kingdom in the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the United Kingdom being one of the defendants. During over fifty years in both Houses of Parliament he rode the two horses, politics and the law simultaneously, and when not a Minister of the Crown practised the criminal law as a barrister and sat as a Crown Court Recorder. His main political mission has been the working out the basis for legislative proposals for setting up all-Wales institutions and his battles with Ministers and Parliamentary colleagues are described in detail, by someone who was there. His proposals were defeated overwhelmingly in a Welsh Referendum when he commented “When you see an elephant on the doorstep you know it’s there”. A subsequent Act, mainly based on his original proposals with some additions, was eventually agreed to by a paper-thin majority in a second Welsh Referendum, and by a substantial majority giving wider powers to the Welsh Assembly in a third Referendum.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      Guerrilla Daughter

      by Holmes, Virginia Hansen

      The experiences of an American family in the Philippines during World War IIJust nine days before her seventh birthday, Virginia Hansen Holmes heard about the attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor and wondered if this was going to change her life. She lived on the Philippine Island of Mindanao with her two teenage brothers, eleven-year-old sister, mother, and father, an official with the East Mindanao Mining Company.Guerrilla Daughter is a memoir of this family’s extraordinary struggle to survive the Japanese occupation of Mindanao from the spring of 1942 until the end of the war in September 1945. The men in the family fought as guerrilla soldiers in the island’s resistance movement, while Holmes, her mother, and her older sister were left to their own resources to evade the Japanese, who had been given orders to execute Americans. The Hansen women, faced with immediate death if found and suffering from hunger, disease, and barely tolerable living conditions, hid out in the Philippine jungle and remote villages to remain just ahead of the growing Japanese presence and avoid capture.Using original documents and papers belonging to her father, as well as her own vivid recollections and the reminiscences of her siblings, Virginia Hansen Holmes presents this gripping and compelling account of extraordinary survival.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      Pattern of Circles

      An Ambassador's Story

      by John Dolibois (author)

      Pattern of Circles is a success story, for its author and his country. John E. Dolibois was born December 4, 1918, in Luxembourg. His mother died weeks later, and he was raised by an older sister until she left for Akron, Ohio, with her American husband. In 1931 John came to Akron with his father and thus began a fascinating life journey.He graduated from Miami University in 1942, in time for service as an Armored Force officer and then in Military Intelligence. In this latter station he assisted in the interrogation of the Nazi war criminals prior to the Nuremberg trials. His descriptions of Goering, Doenitz, Ribbentrop, et al. are perceptive, penetrating, and flavored with earthy humor. These chapters are set against the backdrop of war, the Holocaust, and attendant horrors.In 1981, after retirement from Miami University as Vice President for University Relations, Dolibois was called by President Ronald Reagan to become U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. His appointment came fifty years to the day from his arrival in Akron. His four years as ambassador are an appropriate chapter of life given to the service of his adopted country.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      Frank Vlchek

      The Story of My Life

      by William Chrislock (author)

      The Story of My Life, originally published in Czechoslovakia in 1928, is the engaging and informative autobiography of Frank Vlchek, a Czech immigrant who became a successful businessman in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.The youngest of fourteen children, Vlchek was born to peasant parents in Budyn, southern Bohemia, in 1871. After attempting a career in blacksmithing in Bohemia, at the age of seventeen he decided to follow his two older sisters to Cleveland, home to America’s second-largest Czech community.Vlchek worked a variety of unsatisfactory jobs during his first years in Cleveland. In 1895 he opened his own smithing operation, which after a long struggle was transformed into a successful corporation that specialized in the manufacture of toolkits for automobiles. His narrative relates tales of labor issues, competitors, mergers and acquisitions, and the successes and travails of his operation. Vlchek was often able to travel home to Czechoslovakia, and during those trips he noted the different cultural and political attitudes that had evolved between Czechs and their Czech American cousins.Vlchek’s memoir provides a rare primary source about Czech immigrants. It also offers insight into a self-made man’s life philosophy, illustrates relations between ethnic groups in Cleveland during the 1880s, and demonstrates the assimilation of a late-nineteenth-century immigrant in America.Readers interested in immigration history as well as the history of Cleveland will enjoy this fascinating autobiography.

    • General & world history

      Gunning for the Enemy

      Wallace Mcintosh, Dfc and Bar, Dfm

      by Mel. Rolfe

    • General & world history

      Inherit the Truth, 1939-1945

      The Documented Experiences of a Survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen

      by Anita. Lasker-Wallfisch

      This autobiography relates the author's experiences, as well as those of her sister Renate, as a prisoner at both Auschwitz and Belsen. It tells how their lives were saved by courage, ingenuity, and several improbable strokes of luck. At Auschwitz, Anita escaped death through her talents as a cellist when she was co-opted onto the camp orchestra. The book contains a number of documents, most of them now lodged in the archives of the Imperial War Museum in London. There is a sequence of letters to her sister Marianne in England, from just before the War to 1942, when her parents were deported and liquidated. The predicament of Anita and Renate inside the concentration camps is conveyed, and the text shows how the sisters' capture while fleeing to Paris turned out to be a stroke of "luck" - they were sent to prison and thus spared the much worse horrors of Auschwitz for a crucial year in the middle of the War. This text featured in BBC Radio 4's "Desert Island Discs" programme on August 25, 1996, and in addition a BBC TV film was screened in October 1996.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      My Story

      by Tom L. Johnson (author)

      In cooperation with The Western Reserve Historical SocietyProduced shortly before his death in 1911 and long since out of print, Tom L. Johnson’s autobiography provides a rare personal insight into the career and philosophy of one of the most prominent figures of the American Progressive Era.Influenced by the single tax proposals of Henry George, Johnson gave up a prosperous business career to become a reform politician. Elected first to the U.S. House of Representatives, he served as mayor of Cleveland from 1901 to 1909, instituting sweeping reforms. His championship of municipal ownership, professional management of city departments, and broad public involvement in government makes Johnson’s mayoral administration one of the most celebrated in Cleveland’s history, as well as a focal point for scholars studying the Progressive Era.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      And the Wind Blew Cold

      The Story of an American POW in North Korea

      by Richard Bassett (author)

      A first-person account of the day-to-day struggles of an American held captive in North Korea. October 6, 1951. Richard Bassett remembers the day vividly. That was the day his platoon ran into an ambush near Kumwha. During the firefight many were wounded, four were killed, and Bassett, along with three others, was captured. During a month-long march to the POW camp the Americans frequently came under friendly fire. Surviving the march paled in comparison to what the captured soldiers had to endure at Camp-5-Pyokdong. Frostbite, dysentery, jaundice, and mental breakdowns dwindled their numbers. Starvation and squalid conditions took their toll on Bassett during his 21-month incarceration. Yet he pledged to himself that if anyone were to walk out of this camp alive, it would be him.When Richard Bassett returned from Korea on convalescent leave in 1953, he set down his experiences in training, combat, and captivity. Then he put the memoir away and tried to forget. More than twenty years later, hospitalized for acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he once again faced his personal demons. Expanding the memoir to include his postwar struggles with the U.S. government and his own wounded psyche, the resulting comprehensive account is published here for the first time.Bassett captures in plain language and vivid detail those days of his captivity. He describes the shock of capture and ensuing long march to Pyokdong, North Korea, Camp 5 on the Yellow River, where many prisoners died of untreated wounds, disease, hunger, paralyzing cold, and brutal mistreatment in the bitter winter of 1950-51. He recounts Chinese attempts to mentally break down prisoners in order to exploit them for propoganda. Bassett takes the reader through typical days in a prisoner’s life, discussing food, clothing, shelter, and work; the struggle against unremitting boredom; religious, social, and recreational diversions; and even those moments of terror when all seemed lost.Bassett’s story is important to general audiences and scholars alike because it has not counterpart in the literature of the Korean War. And the Wind Blew Cold refutes Cold War-era propaganda that often unfairly characterized POWs as brainwashed victims or even traitors who lacked the grit that Americans expected of their brave sons.Bassett concludes his memoir with a candid discussion of the war’s aftermath, his battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, harassment by a government eager to impugn the loyalty of repatriated POWs, and his long struggle with the Veterans Administration to receive compensation for enduring physical and mental scars. This book will fascinate anyone interested in the Korean War era, in captivity tales, and in the resilience of the human spirit.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      No Uncle Sam

      The Forgotten of Bataan

      by Anton Bilek (author)

      On April 9, 1942, Gen. Edward King, commander of the Fil-American forces in Bataan, surrendered to the Japanese. To this day, it remains the largest American army in history to surrender, numbering more than 70,000 Filipinos and Americans. After the surrender the Japanese marched their captives to different locations in what became known as the Death March, a 55-mile stretch from Mariveles, Bataan, to San Fernando, Pampanga. Thousands of soldiers died in the march; some were shot by their captors and others succumbed to disease, starvation, or painful dehydration.Anton F. Bilek was only twenty-two years old when he was captured in Bataan. No Uncle Sam is his story of survival through the Death March, his imprisonment under horrific conditions in the Philippines and Japan, and his servitude as a slave laborer in the Japanese coal mines. Bilek addresses the frustration, anger, fear, humor, hope, and courage that he and other Americans shared during their captivity and their silence about these experiences for many years after their release from the POW camps. After almost 40 years Bilek decided to write about his experiences, and this memoir is the result. Those who are interested in history and the incredible resilience of human beings must read this tale of survival.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military

      Exile in Israel

      A Personal Journey With the Palestinians

      by Runa. Mackay

      A personal perspective on the Middle East is offered by the author of this autobiography, who recounts her experiences over a 40-year period as a doctor working in Israel, Lebanon and the occupied territories. It is an uncompromising account of life and politics as viewed by an outsider.;Runa Mackay gives her own views of political situations such as the Six Days War, the birth of the Intifada, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the Israeli deportation of Palestinians living in the occupied territories, as seen through the eyes of a doctor attending the victims of war and exile.

    • General & world history

      Spitfire Pilot

      A Personal Account of the Battle of Britain

      by D. M. Crook

      Written in 1940 in the heat of battle when the RAF stood alone against Hitler's Third Reich, this is a tremendous personal account of one of the fiercest and most idealised air conflicts, the Battle Of Britain. Often hopelessly outnumbered, Flight Lieutenant David Crook and his colleagues committed acts of unimaginable bravery, and many didn't make it. This new edition, 68 years on, includes an introduction by the historian Richard Overy. 'A brilliant first-hand account of the life of a fighter pilot...' }Spectator{

    • General & world history

      The Spitfire Smiths

      A Unique Story of Brothers in Arms


    • Air forces & warfare

      My Golden Flying Years

      From 1918 Over France Through Iraq in the 1920s to the Schneider Trophy Race of 1929

      by D'Arcy. Greig

    • General & world history

      Be Bold

      by Frederick. Rosier

    • Adventure

      Tales From The Cross

      by David Marcus

      For a short period around 1994, the author piloted a number of air ambulance flights around South Africa and its neighbouring countries. During this time, he encountered circumstances that were often extraordinary … poignant, comic, embarrassing, or bizarre to an extent that merited documentation, particularly when extrapolated against an African backdrop already liberally littered with unlikely events. The manuscript is a fictionalised account of those experiences. “Tales from the Cross” comprises 60,000 words, organised as a prologue, eight chapters, and a postscript. It follows the strange adventures of Harry Kamel, attorney and part-time air ambulance pilot, in his travels across Southern Africa on missions of mercy. Each chapter comprises a self-contained episode, although the key characters migrate from chapter to chapter across the manuscript. The central plot of each episode (but one) is essentially true, with actual identities and places disguised.

    • Autobiography: historical, political & military
      October 2012

      A Very Different Life

      by Maggie Thomson

      The first significant change in Maggie Thomson’s life occurred when, at the age of twenty-two, she and her boyfriend whom she had met at Bristol University, decided to return to his homeland in Northern Rhodesia ( Zambia). Although it was against her father’s wishes she was determined to marry Mac, become a policeman’s wife and pursue her career as a teacher. In April 1960 Maggie’s life physically and metaphorically somersaulted when the car she was driving rolled down a bank causing her to break her back – and injury which has confined her to a wheel chair ever since. Her old life stopped and another began, as a paraplegic in a strange land with limited facilities – but lots of friends Maggie Thomson’s story of how she has lived a full and rewarding life (she is now in her seventies), is truly inspirational. She tells of her life in a wheel chair as it is without glossing over the problems; but her writing clearly shows her attitude to life as being one of adventure looking forward. She does not dwell on the ‘might have been’ and pays tribute to her many friends and two sons who have helped her along the way. It is a book from which both the able bodied and incapacitated can derive much strength and encouragement.

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