James VanderRoest Recommends

Books

1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World  by Frank  McLynn1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World
McLynn, Frank
2006
If not for the events of 1759, the entire history of the world would have been different. Called the "Year of Victories," 1759 was the fourth year of the Seven Years, or the French-and-Indian War and defeat of the French paved the way for the global hegemony of the English language. Guiding us through England's conquests (and often extremely narrow victories), Frank McLynn (Wagons West) brilliantly interweaves primary sources, ranging from material in the Vatican archives to oral histories of Native Americans. In a stunning chronicle of a pivotal year in world history, he controversially concludes that the birth of the great British Empire was more a result of luck than of rigorous planning.
The Submission by Amy WaldmanThe Submission
Waldman, Amy
2011
"When a Muslim architect wins a blind contest to design a Ground Zero Memorial, a city of eleven million people takes notice. Waldman, a former bureau chief for the New York Times, explores a diversity of viewpoints around this fictional event, bringing in politicians, businessmen, journalists, activists, and normal people whose lives--whether by happenstance, choice, or even due to their country of origin--get caught up in the controversy. Incredibly, she manages to keep all the balls in the air without ever fumbling. The story is moving and keeps the pages turning, but there are also bigger themes at work: of individuals versus groups; about the purpose of art, commerce, government, and journalism in society; of how people respond to grief and terror. The result is honest, compelling, and breathtaking."--Chris Schluep, Amazon Best Book of the Month.
Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome by J. P. V. D. (John Percy Vyvian Dacre) BalsdonLife and Leisure in Ancient Rome
Balsdon, J. P. V. D. (John Percy Vyvian Dacre)
2002
How did average Romans live out each year, conduct their family life, rear and educate their children? What about slaves in the household? How did people enjoy themselves--did they travel or go to the theater? And, how were those famed gladiators trained? From a wide variety of sources--writers, inscriptions, papyri, mosaics, stones, even graffiti--the answers to these question come into sharp relief. "By far the best single volume on the subject."--The Guardian.
Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony EverittAugustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor
Everitt, Anthony
2006
He found Rome made of clay and left it made of marble. As Rome's first emperor, Augustus transformed the unruly Republic into the greatest empire the world had ever seen. His consolidation and expansion of Roman power two thousand years ago laid the foundations for all of Western history to follow. Yet despite Augustus's accomplishments, very few biographers have concentrated on the man himself, instead choosing to chronicle the age in which he lived. In this study of power and political genius, biographer Everitt gives an intimate account of his illustrious subject. He takes some of the household names of history--Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Antony, Cleopatra--and turns them into flesh and blood. At a time when many consider America an empire, this portrait of the greatest emperor who ever lived makes for enlightening reading.--From publisher description.
The Wolf : how one German raider terrorized the Allies in the most epic voyage of WWI by Richard GuilliattThe Wolf : how one German raider terrorized the Allies in the most epic voyage of WWI
Guilliatt, Richard
2010
The black raider -- Suicide ships -- Wartime secrets -- Edge of the world -- Juanita's war -- The enemy within -- Message in a bottle -- Scandal and mutiny -- A speck on the ocean -- End run -- Stranded -- Honor and defeat.
Team of Rivals  by Doris GoodwinTeam of Rivals
Goodwin, Doris
2005
This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.

Movies

Downton Abbey by  Downton Abbey
2011
Downton Abbey--a sprawling, lavish Edwardian mansion and park nestled in the lush North Yorkshire landscape--needs an heir. After a tragedy at sea claims the life of the presumed heir, Lord Grantham is faced with the possibility that the house he's loved his whole live might someday belong to a distant cousin he's never met. But before he can worry about that he must deal with his scandalous daughter, Lady Mary--considered by many to be the rightful heir to Downton. Even the staff has opinions on the family's affairs. And while most are devoted to those they serve, there are others whose selfishness and scheming do more than simply disrupt the well-oiled inner workings of the estate. As the servants' mischief escalates, even the most faithful employees begin to imagine a different life.
Lincoln by  Lincoln
2012
Based in part on the book "Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Originally released as a motion picture in 2012. Bonus features: The journey to Lincoln.Summary: During the 16th President's tumultuous final four months in office, he pursues a course of action to end the Civil War, unite the country, and abolish slavery.