Author: David M. Brown
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
Release Date: 2012-01-01
At 3:17 p.m. on March 18, 1937, a natural gas leak beneath the London Junior-Senior High School in the oil boomtown of New London, Texas, created a lethal mixture of gas and oxygen in the school’s basement. The odorless, colorless gas went undetected until the flip of an electrical switch triggered a colossal blast. The two-story school, one of the nation’s most modern, disintegrated, burying everyone under a vast pile of rubble and debris. More than 300 students and teachers were killed, and hundreds more were injured. As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the catastrophe approaches, it remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S. history. Few, however, know of this historic tragedy, and no book, until now, has chronicled the explosion, its cause, its victims, and the aftermath. Gone at 3:17 is a true story of what can happen when school officials make bad decisions. To save money on heating the school building, the trustees had authorized workers to tap into a pipeline carrying “waste” natural gas produced by a gasoline refinery. The explosion led to laws that now require gas companies to add the familiar pungent odor. The knowledge that the tragedy could have been prevented added immeasurably to the heartbreak experienced by the survivors and the victims’ families. The town would never be the same. Using interviews, testimony from survivors, and archival newspaper files, Gone at 3:17 puts readers inside the shop class to witness the spark that ignited the gas. Many of those interviewed during twenty years of research are no longer living, but their acts of heroism and stories of survival live on in this meticulously documented and extensively illustrated book.
Author: Arnie Bernstein
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Release Date: 2009-12-11
Genre: True Crime
"With the meticulous attention to detail of a historian and a storyteller's eye for human drama, Bernstein shines a beam of truth on a forgotten American tragedy. Heartbreaking and riveting." ---Gregg Olsen, New York Times best-selling author of Starvation Heights "A chilling and historic character study of the unfathomable suffering that desperation and fury, once unleashed inside a twisted mind, can wreak on a small town. Contemporary mass murderers Timothy McVeigh, Columbine's Dylan Klebold, and Virginia Tech's Seung-Hui Cho can each trace their horrific genealogy of terror to one man: Bath school bomber Andrew Kehoe." ---Mardi Link, author of When Evil Came to Good Hart On May 18, 1927, the small town of Bath, Michigan, was forever changed when Andrew Kehoe set off a cache of explosives concealed in the basement of the local school. Thirty-eight children and six adults were dead, among them Kehoe, who had literally blown himself to bits by setting off a dynamite charge in his car. The next day, on Kehoe's farm, what was left of his wife---burned beyond recognition after Kehoe set his property and buildings ablaze---was found tied to a handcart, her skull crushed. With seemingly endless stories of school violence and suicide bombers filling today's headlines, Bath Massacre serves as a reminder that terrorism and large-scale murder are nothing new.
Author: Peter Nelson
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 2002-05-14
Genre: Young Adult Nonfiction
For fans of Unbroken, Left for Dead is the incredible story of a boy inspired by Jaws to help bring closure to the survivors and their families of the World War II sinking of the USS Indianapolis. Just after midnight on July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship sank in 14 minutes. More than 1,000 men were thrown into shark-infested waters. Those who survived the fiery sinking—some injured, many without life jackets—struggled to stay afloat in shark-infested waters as they waited for rescue. But the United States Navy did not even know they were missing. The Navy needed a scapegoat for this disaster. So it court-martialed the captain for “hazarding” his ship. The survivors of the Indianapolis knew that their captain was not to blame. For 50 years they worked to clear his name, even after his untimely death. But the navy would not budge—until an 11-year-old boy named Hunter Scott entered the picture. His history fair project on the Indianapolis soon became a crusade to restore the captain’s good name and the honor of the men who served under him. Praise for Left for Dead: Christopher Award Winner An ALA-YALSA Best Nonfiction for Young Adults Book “Compelling, dreadful, and amazing.”—VOYA “This exciting, life-affirming book about war heroics and justice . . . proves without question the impact one student can have on history.”—Booklist “Well written and well documented … this excellent presentation fills a void in most World War II collections “—School Library Journal “Young readers . . . will no doubt be inspired by the youth’s tenacity—and by the valor of those who served on the Indianapolis.”—The Horn Book From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Ken Burns
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: 2012-10-12
In this riveting chronicle (which accompanies the documentary broadcasted on PBS) Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns capture the profound drama of the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Terrifying photographs of mile-high dust storms, along with firsthand accounts by more than two dozen eyewitnesses, bring to life this heart-wrenching catastrophe, when a combination of drought, wind, and poor farming practices turned millions of acres of the Great Plains into a wasteland, killing crops and livestock, threatening the lives of small children, burying homesteaders' hopes under huge dunes of dirt. Burns and Duncan collected more than 300 mesmerizing photographs, some never before published, scoured private letters, government reports, and newspaper articles, and conducted in-depth interviews to produce a document that may likely be the last recorded testimony of the generation who lived through this defining decade.
The Inspiring Story of a World War II Hero's Miraculous Survival at Sea July 30, 1945--The USS Indianapolis and its 1,196-man crew is making its way toward a small island in the South Pacific. The ship is sailing unescorted, assured by headquarters the waters are safe. It is midnight, and Marine Edgar Harrell and several others have sacked out on deck rather than spend the night in their hot and muggy quarters below. Fresh off a top-secret mission to deliver uranium for the atomic bombs that would ultimately end World War II, they are unaware their ship is being watched. Minutes later, six torpedoes are slicing toward the Indy . . . For five horrifying days and nights after their ship went down, Harrell and his shipmates had to fend for themselves in the open seas. Plagued by dehydration, exposure, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks, their numbers were cruelly depleted before they were miraculously rescued. This is one man's story of courage, ingenuity, and faith in God's providence in the midst of the worst naval disaster in U.S. history.
Author: Ron Rozelle
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Release Date: 2012-03-01
On March 18, 1937, a spark ignited a vast pool of natural gas that had collected beneath the school building in New London, a tiny community in East Texas. The resulting explosion leveled the four-year-old structure and resulted in a death toll of more than three hundred—most of them children. To this day, it is the worst school disaster in the history of the United States. The tragedy and its aftermath were the first big stories covered by Walter Cronkite, then a young wire service reporter stationed in Dallas. He would later say that no war story he ever covered—during World War II or Vietnam—was as heart-wrenching. In the weeks following the tragedy, a fact-finding committee sought to determine who was to blame. It soon became apparent that the New London school district had, along with almost all local businesses and residents, tapped into pipelines carrying unrefined gas from the plentiful oil fields of the area. It was technically illegal, but natural gas was in abundance in the “Oil Patch.” The jerry-rigged conduits leaked the odorless “green” gas that would destroy the school. A long-term effect of the disaster was the shared guilt experienced—for the rest of their lives—by most of the survivors. There is, perhaps, no better example than Bill Thompson, who was in his fifth grade English class and “in the mood to flirt” with Billie Sue Hall, who was sitting two seats away. Thompson asked another girl to trade seats with him. She agreed—and was killed in the explosion, while Thompson and Hall both survived and lived long lives, never quite coming to terms with their good fortune. My Boys and Girls Are in There: The 1937 New London School Explosion is a meticulous, candid account by veteran educator and experienced author Ron Rozelle. Unfolding with the narrative pace of a novel, the story woven by Rozelle—beginning with the title—combines the anguished words of eyewitnesses with telling details from the historical and legal record. Released to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New London School disaster, My Boys and Girls Are in There paints an intensely human portrait of this horrific event.
Author: Thomas Helm
Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing
Release Date: 2014-06-13
July 30, 1945: The heavy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis was sunk by a torpedo. 1,196 men went into the water. When rescue arrived five days later, only 317 remained. What happened during those five terrible days? Full of harrowing personal accounts from survivors, and written by a veteran who served aboard the cruiser before the attack, Ordeal by Sea chronicles the stark human drama and sensational aftermath of one of the worst disasters in naval history. The story of the doomed mission was immortalized in the film Jaws as Quint remembers the intense, brutal and awful experience of the sailors as sharks tore into the floating survivors. Thirst and hunger were also added to the sailors torments as they wondered if the would be rescued from the merciless sea, their bravery and indomitable spirit is captured in this brillitant book. A dramatic and gripping read.
"We returned to our loved ones, but we were never the same again. Most were markedly changed. Young boys had become mature older men, aged beyond their years. All because of those days in the sea." For five days near the end of the Second World War, the USS Indianapolis disappeared from the map. After being hit by two torpedoes from a Japanese submarine, the warship sank within twelve minutes: 900 men out of a crew of 1200 managed to jump free. But by the time they were found, all that time later, the survivors had plummeted to just 316 men. The story of how that happened, and how the few that remained of her crew were eventually rescued from the mid-Pacific, have become one of the most enduring - and notorious - of wartime sea stories. But the meaning of the Indianapolis goes beyond a simple sinking. What makes the story of this American warship so compelling is that it was important in so many ways. It was the flagship of the fighting admiral Raymond Spruance, in 1943-44, during the crucial battles to control the central Pacific. It delivered the key components of the first atomic bomb dropped in anger, in this case on Hiroshima. It was the greatest single loss of life at sea in an American naval disaster at war. It goes down in history as the biggest attack by sharks on human beings ever recorded. It also became a huge scandal as naval authorities tried to cover-up what had gone wrong, and why the crew had been inadvertently left to die. This book is designed to interweave all these themes to provide a short and informative, and above all, readable, guide to the Indianapolis story, and to also tell the intertwined tales of the two men at the heart of the story: Captain Charles McVay and the man who sank the ship, Mochitsura Hashimoto.
Author: R. J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 2012-02-14
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JULIA ROBERTS, OWEN WILSON, AND JACOB TREMBLAY! Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. "Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder
New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
Author: Richard Whitmire
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Release Date: 2011-02-02
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The inside story of a maverick reformer with a take-no-prisoners management style Hailed by Oprah as a "warrior woman for our times," reviled by teachers unions as the enemy, Michelle Rhee, outgoing chancellor of Washington DC public schools, has become the controversial face of school reform. She has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, and is currently featured as a hero in the documentary "Waiting for Superman." This is the story of her journey from good-girl daughter of Korean immigrants to tough-minded political game-changer. When Rhee first arrived in Washington, she found a school district that had been so broken for so long, that everyone had long since given up. The book provides an inside view of the union battles, the school closings, and contentious community politics that have been the subject of intense public interest and debate ? along with a rare look at Rhee's upbringing and life before DC. Rhee has been featured in the documentary "Waiting for Superman" Rhee's story points to a fresh way of addressing school improvement Addresses fundamental problems in our current education system, and the politics of leadership The book includes an insert with photos from Rhee's personal and professional life, and an "exit" interview that sheds light on what she's learned and where the future might take her.