So you’ve heard all about the
#READdifferent campaign, but you’re not sure where to start on your journey of literary exploration and discovery. We’re here to help! Each week we will be featuring a different theme or genre that you can use to #READdifferent at the 2015 AJC Decatur Book Festival.
This week, it’s all about AMAZING HISTORY—fascinating historical stories that investigate crucial points in our world’s past and challenge the way we understand its present. Take a trip through time with the great historical authors we have on tap at the 2015 AJC DBF:
Newkirk, an award-winning journalist and professor, digs deep to uncover details about a particularly shameful moment in American history in Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga. This intriguing historical narrative reveals more about the racial prejudice of the early twentieth century by telling the story of an African man used as a zoo exhibit.
In 2010, the world watched as the San Jose mine collapsed in Chile and trapped more than 30 miners beneath the earth for 69 days before they were finally saved. Little has been known about what actually happened underground during those grueling 69days—that is, until the release of Hector Tobar’s Deep Dark Down: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free. This masterful work of narrative journalism tells the riveting story of what those miners went through, and the surprising ways in which the disaster changed their lives.
Bryant’s book, Dark Places of the Earth, looks into one of the most contentious early Supreme Court cases in American history. In 1820, even though the slave trade had been outlawed, the slave ship Antelope was captured off the coast of Florida. Slavery, however, was still legal in the South. So were the Africans on board (numbering up to nearly 300) still considered slaves? This narrative looks into one of the most riveting—yet mostly forgotten—Supreme Court cases the nation has seen.
Gabis’ story is more of a personal one. A Guest at the Shooters’ Banquet: My Grandfather’s SS Past, My Jewish Family, A Search for the Truth, a historical memoir, tells the story of her grandfather, who Gabis recently learned was the chief of security police under the Gestapo in Lithuania during a time where 8,000 Jews were murdered. Through intense research and discovery, this book tells the complicated truth about a man the author though she knew, and the role he played in a tragic episode of European history.
Girl Waits With Gun, a piece of historical fiction, is based on the true story of Constance Kopp, a 1914 woman who never quite fit in with society. After a negative interaction with a local man, her family farm is put in danger. Constance works with the sheriff to go after the man and defend her family, in a way atypical of a woman in the early twentieth century.