Collection Capers: November 2006

Collection Capers is a monthly newsletter of NEW interesting or unusual non-fiction added to the Sutherland Shire Libraries collection. Click on the title to reserve a copy.

Guerra! Living in the shadows of the Spanish Civil War by Jason Webster
Jason Webster journeys through recent Spanish history to unearth the secrets of the Spanish Civil War, and explore its legacy today. In a land of still undiscovered mass graves, the bitter divisions of the Civil war still linger. The author finds there is still a ‘dark side’ that, like Germany, has a grip on the country’s soul. If readers want a contemporary account of the times take a look at George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’.

How to lose a battle: foolish plans and great military blunders edited by Bill Fawcett
This engrossing and fact-filled compendium of great military disasters and ill-advised battle plans highlights the worst military decisions throughout history and the world. It seems that ‘Dad’s Army’may have been the template for some strategies.

Overthrow: America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer
The United States has been one of the most imperialistic empires in history. Most of its ambitions have not been land grabs (though some were) but efforts to bring down governments that they didn’t like (including some they had sustained). Often they installed brutal dictators (Pinochet, the Shah of Iran) This book shows the scope of the role of the U.S. in a series of coups, revolutions, and invasions that toppled fourteen foreign governments, from the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 to the 2003 war in Iraq. Many of these events were helped along by the CIA, the Committee to Intervene Anywhere.

Blackbeard: America’s most notorious pirate by Angus Konstam
Of all the colourful cutthroats who scoured the seas in search of plunder during the Golden Age of Piracy in the early eighteenth century, none was more ferocious or notorious than Blackbeard (who probably went by the name of Edward Teach). Nearly three centuries after his death his name is still synonymous with piracy. Not content with becoming the scourge of the Caribbean, this brutal and fearless hell-raiser then sailed north to strike terror in the hearts of American colonists from New York to the Carolinas.

Endangered: wildlife on the brink of extinction
Looks at those species which have become extinct or which are so severely threatened that they soon will be extinct, if we do not apply some international rational restraint upon the way we exploit our environment. This book is seeking endorsement from the world wildlife fund for nature. Thousands of species have disappeared from the Earth over the industrial age. It seems we just cannot help ourselves from destroying our wonderful world.

Dances in deep shadows: Britain’s clandestine war in Russia 1917-20 by Michael Occleshaw
An appraisal of the revolution and Civil War in Russia, this work shows that the clash between communism and capitalism was never as clear-cut as later historians sought to claim. Britain had a network of spies and supported clandestine military operations against the Bolshevik forces.

Why birds sing: one man’s quest to solve an everyday mystery by David Rothenberg
The richness and variety of birdsong is both a scientific mystery and a source of wonder. Combining scientific research with an understanding of musical beauty, this book offers a different look at this natural phenomena. One wonders how less the world would be without the song of the magpie, the lark, the canary and how better off it would be without the songs of Oasis and Silverchair.

The shroud story by Brendan Whiting
The Shroud of Turin has fascinated observers for many centuries. Some people believe it to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ or a clever trick done as a self-portrait by Leonardo da Vinci. A small number of truly strange people believe it to be an early painting by Rolf Harris done with a can of British Paints about 1970. Whatever the truth this book goes through the saga of this mysterious image.

Shopping for bombs: nuclear proliferation, global insecurity and the rise and fall of the A.Q. Khan network
With a title almost as long as an equation for building a small thermo-nuclear device this is an enthralling chapter in recent geo-political history. Presents a detailed account of Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear technology, and how it sold it to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. This is an essential read on the topic dominating international relations and world politics today.

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