The World, Changing and Changed
by Suzi Steffen
Truth: Stranger than fiction? Often, and well-written history books mean we understand a little bit more about how we got here. From a massive selection, here are a few that would make great gifts for the history buffs in your life:
Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore. W.W. Norton, $39.95. Guess what? The Civil Rights movement didn’t start when Rosa Parks refused to stand. Gilmore showcases the continual resistance of Southern African Americans and white folks to Jim Crow.
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie Chang. Speigel & Grau, $26. Technically, this is super-recent history, but we predict this well-documented and spellbinding narrative will serve as a lasting record of one of the largest mass migrations the world has ever seen.
American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA by Nick Taylor. Bantam Books, $27.The book’s other subtitle is “When FDR Put the Nation to Work,” and we sure hope President-elect Obama is reading this superb tome as he plans to rebuild our country’s infrastructure.
On Their Own: Women Journalists and the American Experience in Vietnam by Joyce Hoffman. Da Capo Press, $27.50. When the military, the government and newspapers said no way, these women took it as incentive to photograph, write and report from the front lines anyway.
Le Corbusier: A Life by Nicholas Fox Weber. Knopf, $45. Don’t leave it to art history and architecture grad students to read this life of a man whose personal life and buildings spanned Europe and the U.S. in the 20th century.