History Book Discussion
Jan
7
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

Destiny of the Republic.jpg

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

by Candace Millard

Millard focuses her formidable research and narrative skills on the shooting of president James Garfield and his death, 79 days later, from the misguided medical care he received. Millard has found compelling characters and narrative drama in historical events that have been largely overlooked.

“I found him very admirable and I found it a real loss to the nation that he’s been forgotten. I think there’s a lot we can learn from him and from this tragedy.” Christian Science Monitor Interview, Oct. 4, 2011

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History Book Discussion
Feb
18
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

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Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

by Alex Kershaw

WWII historian Kershaw (The Liberator) revisits the valorous actions of American surgeon Sumner Jackson who, along with his French wife, Toquette, and young son, Phillip, falsified the medical records of Allied pilots and troops at the American Hospital in Paris to aid them in escaping the Nazis. During the four years of German occupation, the Jackson residence—which was located on the same avenue as the Gestapo headquarters—became a valuable conduit for French resistance fighters, who from the fall of 1940 had been pitted against the Nazi Schutzstaffel and their informers. Kershaw, using war documents and interviews with the aging Phillip, brilliantly captures the deadly cat-and-mouse game between Charles de Gaulle's underground and the Nazis and Vichy fascists. As the Gestapo infiltrate the resistance and discover its secrets, the Jacksons suffer the same fate as their friends, enduring the unspeakable torment of those they aided in the closing moments of the war. Kershaw's sobering look at a family's heroism in one of the history's darkest hours vividly shows what war costs in human terms. PW, August

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History Book Discussion
Apr
15
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

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Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated a Nation

by Dean Jobb

The first chapter of Jobb’s comprehensively researched and enthralling account of the life, times and crimes of Leo Koretz begins in June 1922 at Chicago’s posh Drake Hotel. An elegant banquet celebrates “Oil King” Koretz, the “New Rockefeller” whose Bayano Syndicate, a timber business turned oil empire, has made many of his friends and associates filthy rich. 

The ultimate irony of Koretz’s career is that he was performing the Ponzi maneuver — misusing contributions from new investors to pay dividends to earlier ones — before Charles Ponzi himself. As Jobb notes, it could have been called the Koretz scheme, except that Ponzi got caught first. While Ponzi’s scheme fell apart within a single year (1920), Koretz’s persisted for nearly two decades.

This audacious story also features secret love nests and affairs with many women; multiple identities, rough disguises and a stint of hiding in plain sight; an international manhunt, a fateful knock at the door and a gripping court drama. Even when he lands in prison, his plotting’s not done; an “escape plan” is still ahead. Washington Post, June 19, 2015

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History Book Discussion
Jun
10
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

Boys in the Boat.jpg

The Boys in the Boat: An Epic True-Life Journey to the Heart of Hitler’s Berlin

by Daniel James Brown

This is the astonishing story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar varsity crew and its rise from obscurity to fame. The individual stories of these young men are almost as compelling as the rise of the team itself. Brown excels at weaving their stories with the larger narrative, all culminating in the 1936 Olympic Games.

A story this breathtaking demands an equally compelling author, and Brown does not disappoint. The narrative rises inexorably, with the final 50 pages blurring by with white-knuckled suspense as these all-American underdogs pull off the unimaginable.
Seattle Times

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History Book Discussion
Aug
19
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

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In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors

by Doug Stanton

Given the stringent precision of the U.S. Navy and military during wartime, how could a WWII battleship carrying over 1,000 men be torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sink, leaving the survivors to bob in the Pacific Ocean at the mercy of elements and predators, without anyone realizing the loss for more than four days?

Stanton not only offers a well-researched chronicle of what is widely regarded as the worst naval disaster in U.S. history, but also vividly renders the combatants' hellish ordeal during the sinking, and the ensuing days at sea as well as attempts to cope with the traumatic aftermath.

 Illuminating and emotional without being maudlin, Stanton's book helps explain what many have long considered an inexplicable catastrophe. PW, May, 2003

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History Book Discussion
Oct
21
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly

Shetterly’s Hidden Figures is the story and celebration of the four dozen unsung black women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists, and engineers from 1943 to 1980 for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and its successor, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). More precisely, it is a historical homage to the fearlessness of mathematical minds too brilliant to be hindered by racism and sexism — to women who walked away from traditional, low-paying teaching jobs and marched into a predominantly white, segregated work force that considered them, in Shetterly’s words, “invisible and invaluable at the same time.” Los Angeles Review of Books, Jan. 19, 2017

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Lombard Christmas Mart
Nov
4
9:00 AM09:00

Lombard Christmas Mart

  • Lombard Historical Society - Carriage House (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Lombard Historical Society will be open for the Christmas Mart along Maple Street. Stop in our Carriage House for beautiful ornaments, scarves, children's books, mugs, Lilac Time mugs and posters, and much more!

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History Book Discussion
Oct
15
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

The Witches: Salem, 1692
By Stacy Schiff

With devastating clarity, the textures and tensions of colonial life emerge; hidden patterns subtly, startlingly detach themselves from the darkness. Schiff brings early American anxieties to the fore to align them brilliantly with our own. In an era of religious provocations, crowdsourcing, and invisible enemies, this enthralling story makes more sense than ever.

The Witches is Schiff 's riveting account of a seminal episode, a primal American mystery unveiled-in crackling detail and lyrical prose-by one of our most acclaimed historians.

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Picnic at the Peck
Sep
30
1:00 PM13:00

Picnic at the Peck

Bring your blanket and family to the Peck Homestead. Live music with the Plank Road Folk Music Society. We'll provide hot dogs and s'mores, and have family activities. Free event, donations welcome. The picnic is from 1:00-4:00.

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Brown Bag Lunch: Rediscovering Camp McDowell
Sep
22
12:00 PM12:00

Brown Bag Lunch: Rediscovering Camp McDowell

McDowell Grove Forest Preserve was home to a Civilian Conservation Corps, a signal corps school for radar technology, and even a communications school for the Office of Strategic Services, America’s World War II spy agency and precursor to the CIA. Discover this preserve’s intriguing history through this program featuring historic photographs and documents. 

Free, but please RSVP due to limited seating.

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History Book Discussion
Aug
20
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

Lincoln's Greatest Case
By Brian McGinty

Re-creating the Effie Afton case from its unlikely inception to its controversial finale, McGinty brilliantly animates this legal cauldron of the late 1850s, which turned out to be the most consequential trial in Lincoln's nearly quarter century as a lawyer. Along the way, the tall prairie lawyer's consummate legal skills and instincts are also brought to vivid life, as is the history of steamboat traffic on the Mississippi, the progress of railroads west of the Appalachians, and the epochal clashes of railroads and steamboats at the river’s edge.

Lincoln's Greatest Case is legal history on a grand scale and an essential first act to a pivotal Lincoln drama we did not know was there.

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Brown Bag Lunch - 40 Years of Trains in Lombard
May
26
12:00 PM12:00

Brown Bag Lunch - 40 Years of Trains in Lombard

Amateur historian and long-time Lombard resident Carl Shaver will discuss changes in the railroad through Lombard over the last 40+ years. He’ll touch on the history of the discontinued CGW line and technology updates to tracks, signals, operations (once Union Pacific took over), and freight equipment. Carl is always thrilled to answer those railroad questions you didn’t even know you had. 
Free, but please RSVP due to limited seating. 

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History Book Discussion
Apr
23
2:00 PM14:00

History Book Discussion

War of Two:  Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Duel that Stunned the Nation
By John Sedgwick

A provocative and penetrating investigation into the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, whose infamous duel left the Founding Father dead and turned a sitting Vice President into a fugitive.  Presented in collaboration with the Helen Plum LIbrary.

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