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YA Book Club POSTPONED! Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this Saturday's YA book club meeting. We will reschedule and post it here and on our social media as soon as we can. 

Military History

OPERATION CHASTISE

OPERATION CHASTISE

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Best Nonfiction of 2020 -- Kirkus Reviews



One of the most lauded historians of our time returns to the Second World War in this magnificent retelling of the awe-inspiring raid on German dams conducted by the Royal Army Force's 617 Squadron.


The attack on Nazi Germany's dams on May 17, 1943, was one of the most remarkable feats in military history. The absurdly young men of the Royal Air Force's 617 Squadron set forth in cold blood and darkness, without benefit of electronic aids, to fly lumbering heavy bombers straight and level towards a target at a height above the water less than the length of a bowling alley. Yet this story--and the later wartime experience of the 617 Squadron--has never been told in full.

Max Hastings takes us back to the May 1943 raid to reveal how the truth of that night is considerably different from the popularized account most people know. The RAF had identified the Ruhr dams as strategic objectives as far back as 1938; in those five years Wing Commander Guy Gibson formed and trained the 617 Squadron. Hastings observes that while the dropping of Wallis's mines provided the dramatic climax, only two of the eight aircraft lost came down over the dams--the rest were shot down on the flight to, or back from, the mission. And while the 617 Squadron's valor is indisputable, the ultimate industrial damage caused by the dam raid was actually rather modest.

In 1943, these brave men caught the imagination of the world and uplifted the weary spirits of the British people. Their achievement unnerved the Nazi high command, and caused them to expend large resources on dam defenses--making the mission a success. An example of Churchill's "military theatre" at its best, what 617 Squadron did was an extraordinary and heroic achievement, and a triumph of British ingenuity and technology--a story to be told for generations to come.

Operation Chastise includes three 8-page black-and-white photo inserts and 6 maps.

OPERATION MINCEMEAT

OPERATION MINCEMEAT

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"Pure catnip to fans of World War II thrillers and a lot of fun for everyone else."--Joseph Kanon, Washington Post Book World

"Thrilling . . . What makes Operation Mincemeat so winning, in addition to Mr. Macintyre's meticulous research and the layers of his historcal understanding, is his elegant, jaunty, and very British high style."--Dwight Garner, New York Times

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES

Near the end of World War II, two British naval officers came up with a brilliant and slightly mad scheme to mislead the Nazi armies about where the Allies would attack southern europe. To carry out the plan, they would have to rely on the most unlikely of secret agents: a dead man.

Ben Macintyre's dazzling, critically acclaimed bestseller chronicles the extraordinary story of what happened after British officials planted this dead body--outfitted in a British military uniform with a briefcase containing false intelligence documents--in Nazi territory, and how this secret mission fooled Hitler into changing military positioning, paving the way for the Allies to overtake the Nazis.

Order of the Day

Order of the Day

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Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Boston Globe, and Literary Hub

Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt, this behind-the-scenes account of the manipulation, hubris, and greed that together led to Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria brilliantly dismantles the myth of an effortless victory and offers a dire warning for our current political crisis.



February 20, 1933, an unremarkable day during a harsh Berlin winter: A meeting of twenty-four German captains of industry and senior Nazi officials is being held in secret in the plush lounge of the Reichstag. They are there to extract funds for the accession to power of the National Socialist Party and its Chancellor. This opening scene sets a tone of consent that will lead to the worst possible repercussions.

March 12, 1938, the annexation of Austria is on the agenda: A grotesque day intended to make history--the newsreels capture a motorized army on the move, a terrible, inexorable power. But behind Goebbels's splendid propaganda, an ersatz Blitzkrieg unfolds, the Panzers breaking down en masse on the roads into Austria. The true behind-the-scenes account of the Anschluss--a patchwork of minor flourishes of strength and fine words, fevered telephone calls, and vulgar threats--all reveal a starkly different picture. It is not strength of character or the determination of a people that wins the day, but rather a combination of intimidation and bluff.

With this vivid, compelling history, Éric Vuillard warns against the peril of willfully blind acquiescence, and offers a reminder that, ultimately, the worst is not inescapable.

SHADOW DIVERS

SHADOW DIVERS

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New York Times Bestseller

In the tradition of Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery-and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones-all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors-former enemies of their country. As the men's marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson's account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean's underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.

SPLENDID & THE VILE

SPLENDID & THE VILE

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz--an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis

"One of [Erik Larson's] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment."--Time - "A bravura performance by one of America's greatest storytellers."--NPR

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - Time - Vogue - NPR - The Washington Post - Chicago Tribune - The Globe & Mail - Fortune - Bloomberg - New York Post - The New York Public Library - Kirkus Reviews - LibraryReads - PopMatters

On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally--and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it's also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports--some released only recently--Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill's "Secret Circle," to whom he turns in the hardest moments.

The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill's eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

SPY & THE TRAITOR

SPY & THE TRAITOR

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

"The best true spy story I have ever read."--JOHN LE CARRÉ

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist - Shortlisted for the Bailie Giffords Prize in Nonfiction


If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.

SPY AMONG FRIENDS

SPY AMONG FRIENDS

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The true story of Kim Philby, the Cold War's most infamous spy, from the master espionage writer and author of The Spy and the Traitor.

Who was Kim Philby? Those closest to him--like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA's head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton--knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot. Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain's counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time.

Every word uttered in confidence to Philby by his colleagues in the West made its way to Moscow, leading countless missions to their doom and subverting American and British attempts to subdue the Soviet threat. So how was this cunning double-agent finally exposed? In A Spy Among Friends, Ben Macintyre expertly weaves the heart-pounding tale of how Philby almost got away with it all--and what happened when he was finally unmasked.

Based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, this is Ben Macintyre's epic telling of one of the greatest spy stories ever, a Cold War history that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

UNBROKEN

UNBROKEN

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE - Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

In boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Appearing in paperback for the first time--with twenty arresting new photos and an extensive Q&A with the author--Unbroken is an unforgettable testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit, brought vividly to life by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine - Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year award

"Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic."--The Wall Street Journal

"[A] one-in-a-billion story . . . designed to wrench from self-respecting critics all the blurby adjectives we normally try to avoid: It is amazing, unforgettable, gripping, harrowing, chilling, and inspiring."--New York

"Staggering . . . mesmerizing . . . Hillenbrand's writing is so ferociously cinematic, the events she describes so incredible, you don't dare take your eyes off the page."--People

"A meticulous, soaring and beautifully written account of an extraordinary life."--The Washington Post

"Ambitious and powerful . . . a startling narrative and an inspirational book."--The New York Times Book Review

"Magnificent . . . incredible . . . [Hillenbrand] has crafted another masterful blend of sports, history and overcoming terrific odds; this is biography taken to the nth degree, a chronicle of a remarkable life lived through extraordinary times."--The Dallas Morning News

"An astonishing testament to the superhuman power of tenacity."--Entertainment Weekly

"A tale of triumph and redemption . . . astonishingly detailed."--O: The Oprah Magazine

"[A] masterfully told true story . . . nothing less than a marvel."--Washingtonian

"[Hillenbrand tells this] story with cool elegance but at a thrilling sprinter's pace."--Time

"Hillenbrand [is] one of our best writers of narrative history. You don't have to be a sports fan or a war-history buff to devour this book--you just have to love great storytelling."--Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

WHEN BKS WENT TO WAR

WHEN BKS WENT TO WAR

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Heartwarming." -- New York Times

"Whether or not you're a book lover, you'll be moved." -- Entertainment Weekly

"A readable, accessible addition to World War II literature [and] a book that will be enjoyed by lovers of books about books." -- Boston Globe

"Four stars [out of four] . . . A cultural history that does much to explain modern America." --

USA Today

When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned 100 million books. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and rucksacks in every theater of war. These Armed Services Editions were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. Soldiers read them while waiting to land at Normandy, in hellish trenches in the midst of battles in the Pacific, in field hospitals, and on long bombing flights. They helped rescue The Great Gatsby from obscurity and made Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, into a national icon. When Books Went to War is the inspiring story of the Armed Services Editions, and a treasure for history buffs and book lovers alike.

"A thoroughly engaging, enlightening, and often uplifting account . . . I was enthralled and moved." -- Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried


WINTER FORTRESS M/TV

WINTER FORTRESS M/TV

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"Riveting and poignant . . . The Winter Fortress metamorphoses from engrossing history into a smashing thriller . . . Mr. Bascomb's research and, especially, his storytelling skills are first-rate."--The Wall Street Journal

"Weaving together his typically intense research and a riveting narrative, Neal Bascomb's The Winter Fortress is a spellbinding piece of historical writing." -- Martin Dugard, author of Into Africa and co-author of the Killing series


In 1942, the Nazis were racing to complete the first atomic bomb. All they needed was a single, incredibly rare ingredient: heavy water, which was produced solely at Norway's Vemork plant. Under threat of death, Vemork's engineers pushed production into overdrive. If the Allies could not destroy the plant, they feared the Nazis would soon be in possession of the most dangerous weapon the world had ever seen. But how would the Allied forces reach the castle fortress, set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth?

Based on a trove of top-secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skis, perilous survival in the wild, Gestapo manhunts, and a last-minute operation that would alter the course of the war.

"A taut and peerlessly told adventure story full of thrills, derring-do and heart-stopping tension." -- Seattle Times

"Told with both historical and scientific accuracy . . . this book has rocketed into my pantheon of the top suspense-filled stories about [World War II], along with The 900 Days and The Colditz Story." -- Ethan Siegel, Forbes