What Happened? Book Discussion

Are you interested in history, the big events or the people who have made history, whether famous or not well-known? Then the Concord Library has a new book discussion group for you: What Happened? Historical Book Discussion. Each month, the group will read a work of history, biography, or historical fiction and will discuss what happened and why it matters. For more information, contact John Eury @ 704-920-2054 or jseury@cabarruscounty.us.

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Synopsis
Tomorrow Land
10/6Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of AmericaJoseph Tirella

​Motivated by potentially turning Flushing Meadows, literally a land of refuse, into his greatest public park, Robert Moses--New York's "Master Builder"--brought the World's Fair to the Big Apple for 1964 and '65. Though considered a financial failure, the 1964-65 World's Fair was a Sixties flashpoint in areas from politics to pop culture, technology to urban planning, and civil rights to violent crime.

     In an epic narrative, Tomorrow-Land shows the astonishing pivots taken by New York City, America, and the world during the Fair. It fetched Disney's empire from California and Michelangelo's La Pieta from Europe; and displayed flickers of innovation from Ford, GM, and NASA--from undersea and outerspace colonies to personal computers. It housed the controversial work of Warhol (until Governor Rockefeller had it removed); and lured Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. Meanwhile, the Fair--and its house band, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians--sat in the musical shadows of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, who changed rock-and-roll right there in Queens. And as Southern civil rights efforts turned deadly, and violent protests also occurred in and around the Fair, Harlem-based Malcolm X predicted a frightening future of inner-city racial conflict.

     World's Fairs have always been collisions of eras, cultures, nations, technologies, ideas, and art. But the trippy, turbulent, Technicolor, Disney, corporate, and often misguided 1964-65 Fair was truly exceptional.

James K. Polk
11/3James K. PolkJohn Seigenthaler

​The story of a pivotal president who watched over our westward expansion and solidified the dream of Jacksonian democracy.

The Day Christ Was Born
12/1The Day Christ Was BornJim Bishop

​A reissue of the classic retelling of the Nativity. "Written with dignity, unerring taste, and with no straining for effects."

Hitler's Philosophers
1/12Hitler's PhilosophersYvonne Sherratt

​Hitler had a dream to rule the world, not only with the gun but also with his mind. He saw himself as a "philosopher-leader" and astonishingly gained the support of many intellectuals of his time. In this compelling book, Yvonne Sherratt explores Hitler's relationship with philosophers and uncovers cruelty, ambition, violence, and betrayal where least expected—at the heart of Germany's ivory tower.

Sherratt investigates international archives, discovering evidence back to the 1920s of Hitler's vulgarization of noble thinkers of the past, including Kant, Nietzsche, and Darwin. She reveals how philosophers of the 1930s eagerly collaborated to lend the Nazi regime a cloak of respectability: Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, and a host of others. And while these eminent men sanctioned slaughter, Semitic thinkers like Walter Benjamin and opponents like Kurt Huber were hunted down or murdered. Many others, such as Theodor Adorno and Hannah Arendt, were forced to flee as refugees. The book portrays their fates, to be dispersed across the world as the historic edifice of Jewish-German culture was destroyed by Hitler.

Sherratt not only confronts the past; she also tracks down chilling evidence of continuing Nazi sympathy in Western Universities today.


Freedom is Not Enough
2/9Freedom is Not Enough:  The Moynihan Report & America's Struggle Over Black Family LifeJames T. Patterson

​On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered what he and many others considered the greatest civil rights speech of his career. Proudly, Johnson hailed the new freedoms granted to African Americans due to the newly passed Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, but noted that “freedom is not enough.” The next stage of the movement would be to secure racial equality “as a fact and a result.”

The speech was drafted by an assistant secretary of labor by the name of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who had just a few months earlier drafted a scorching report on the deterioration of the urban black family in America. When that report was leaked to the press a month after Johnson’s speech, it created a whirlwind of controversy from which Johnson’s civil rights initiatives would never recover. But Moynihan’s arguments proved startlingly prescient, and established the terms ofa debate about welfare policy that have endured for forty-five years.

The history of one of the great missed opportunities in American history,Freedom Is Not Enoughwill be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand our nation’s ongoing failure to address the tragedy of the black underclass.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy
3/9Liar, Temptress, Soldier, SpyKaren Abbot

​Widow, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.

Killing Lincoln
4/6Killing LincolnBill O'Reilly

​A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly

The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.


Henry VIII
5/4Henry VIIIWilliam Shakespeare

​King Henry VIII schemes to divorce his wife Katherine of Aragon in order to marry the beautiful Anne Boleyn, even as political intrigues disrupt the court. Includes explanatory notes, scene-by-scene plot summaries, a key to famous lines and phrases, scholarly essay, and illustrations.