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History

This guide provides print, online, and local resources for historical research.

Frequently Asked Question

What are the differences between websites and library databases?

1.  Generally, websites and library databases both can contain:

  • scholarly information (such as facts, scholarly essays, research results, and research reports), and
     
  • non-scholarly information (such as popular opinion and guesswork).

NOTE: Researchers should take the time to verify research results by checking several other reliable sources before using it or acting on it. (See more about how to determine what types of sources are credible at PPLD's LibGuide on Finding Good Information here.)

2.  Library databases do not generally use natural language to search, but use specialized wording and symbols. One of the benefits of using library databases is that they give more precise results than websites or web searches, which may include duplicate or irrelevant results.

3.  In addition, library databases contain content that is sometimes only available by paying for it. The library pays for access to that information on behalf of the community it serves.

4.  Online web searches often do use natural language, but the results may not be exactly what a researcher is looking for.

5.  The order of an online result list is also often based on the priorities of the companies who offer the search (usually at no out-of-pocket cost), rather than the priorities of the researcher.  

For a more detailed discussion of researching best practices, see PPLD's LibGuide on Information and Media Literacy here.

World History Featured in PPLD's Collection

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943

Available as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive

The Battle of Stalingrad was not only the psychological turning point of World War II: it also changed the face of modern warfare.
In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five-month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost; then, in an astonishing reversal, encircled and trapped their Nazi enemy. This battle for the ruins of a city cost more than a million lives. Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides, fighting in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield. Antony Beevor has interviewed survivors and discovered completely new material in a wide range of German and Soviet archives, including prisoner interrogations and reports of desertions and executions. As a story of cruelty, courage, and human suffering, Stalingrad is unprecedented and unforgettable. Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle.

The Great Courses: History of India

Available as Available as an eAudiobook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, streaming video through Kanopy, and (as featured here) streaming video through Hoopla

Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of cultures, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a hub for trade and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20% of the world's population and is an economic powerhouse. Go inside this thrilling story with A History of India, a breathtaking survey of South Asia from its earliest societies through the challenges of the 21st century.

Journal of the Principal Occurrences During the Siege of Quebec

Available as a streaming eBook through Biblioboard

This account of the expedition to Quebec includes an introduction to the battle and those that came before it in the greater context of world history.

Francofonia: A History of the Louvre During World War II

Available as a DVD videorecording for checkout, as streaming video through Hoopla, and (as featured here) as streaming video through Kanopy

Alexander Sokurov's portrait of the real-life collaboration that saved the Louvre Museum under the Nazi Occupation, a stunning and urgently relevant meditation on the essential relationship between art, culture, and history.

Cold Warriors: Writers Who Waged the Literary Cold War

Available as a print book for checkout, as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, as an eBook and eAudiobook for checkout through Hoopla, and (as featured here) an eBook for checkout through Freading

In this brilliant account of the literary war within the Cold War, novelists and poets become embroiled in a dangerous game of betrayal, espionage, and conspiracy at the heart of the vicious conflict fought between the Soviet Union and the West.

During the Cold War, literature was both sword and noose. Novels, essays, and poems could win the hearts and minds of those caught between the competing creeds of capitalism and communism. They could also lead to blacklisting, exile, imprisonment, or execution for their authors if they offended those in power. The clandestine intelligence services of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union recruited secret agents and established vast propaganda networks devoted to literary warfare. But the battles were personal, too: friends turned on one another, lovers were split by political fissures, artists were undermined by inadvertent complicities. And while literary battles were fought in print, sometimes the pen was exchanged for a gun, the bookstore for the battlefield.

In Cold Warriors, Duncan White vividly chronicles how this ferocious intellectual struggle was waged on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Among those involved were George Orwell, Stephen Spender, Mary McCarthy, Graham Greene, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, John le Carré, Anna Akhmatova, Richard Wright, Ernest Hemingway, Boris Pasternak, Gioconda Belli, and Václav Havel. Here, too, are the spies, government officials, military officers, publishers, politicians, and critics who helped turn words into weapons at a time when the stakes could not have been higher.

Drawing upon years of archival research and the latest declassified intelligence, Cold Warriors is both a gripping saga of prose and politics, and a welcome reminder that--at a moment when ignorance is all too frequently celebrated and reading is seen as increasingly irrelevant--writers and books can change the world.

Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I: The Mother and Daughter who Forever Changed British History

Available an eBook for checkout through Hoopla, as an eBook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, and (as featured here) as a print book for checkout

Anne Boleyn may be best known for losing her head, but as Tudor expert Tracy Borman reveals in a book that recasts British history, her greatest legacy lies in the path-breaking reign of her daughter, Elizabeth. Much of the fascination with Britain's legendary Tudors centers around the dramas surrounding Henry VIII and his six wives and Elizabeth I's rumored liaisons. Yet the most fascinating relationship in that historic era may well be that between the mother and daughter who, individually and collectively, changed the course of British history.

The future Queen Elizabeth was not yet three when her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded on May 19, 1536, on Henry's order, incensed that she had not given him a son and tired of her contentious nature. Elizabeth had been raised away from court, rarely even seeing Anne; and after her death, Henry tried in every way to erase Anne's presence and memory. At that moment in history, few could have predicted that mother and daughter would each leave enduring, and interlocked, legacies. Yet as Tracy Borman reveals in this first-ever joint portrait, both women broke the mold for British queens and for women in general at the time. Anne was instrumental in reforming and reshaping forever Britain's religious traditions, and her years of wielding power over a male-dominated court provided an inspiring role model for Elizabeth's glittering, groundbreaking 45-year reign. Indeed, Borman shows how much Elizabeth-most visibly by refusing to ever marry, but in many other more subtle ways that defined her court-was influenced by her mother's legacy.

In its originality, Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I sheds new light on two of history's most famous women-the private desires, hopes, and fears that lay behind their dazzling public personas, and the surprising influence each had on the other during and after their lifetimes. In the process, Tracy Borman reframes our understanding of the entire Tudor era.

The World War I Book

Available as a print book for checkout

Discover the key battles, tactics, technologies, and turning points of the First World War - the epic conflict that was supposed to be "the war to end all wars."

Combining authoritative, exciting text and bold images, The World War I Book explores the historical background of the war, its causes, all of the key events across the major theatres of conflict, and its aftermath.

Using the original, graphic-led approach of the series, entries profile more than 90 of the key events during and surrounding the conflict - from the growing tensions between Europe's major powers to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the German invasion of Belgium, the endless slaughter in the trenches, the American entry into the war, the Russian Revolution, the Armistice, and the creation of the League of Nations.

In this book, you can explore the following :

* Key milestones of the First World War - exploring the technologies, tactics, and turning points.

* Main theatres of the conflict and the experience of war - from civilian life to the horrors of gas attacks.

* Bold imagery and clear text with insightful and inspiring quotes from military leaders and historians

Offering a uniquely compelling, accessible, and immediate history of the war, The World War I Book shows how certain key battles, individual leaders, political, and economic forces, and technological advances influenced the course of the conflict and the following decades.

Crusade in the Pacific

Available as a DVD recording for checkout

Experience the epic television documentary event that chronicles all the bloody land, sea, and air battles for the Pacific. Featuring never-before-seen footage from the archives of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, as well as film captured from the Japanese government. From the Japanese seizure of Manchuria and attack on Pearl Harbor through the detonation of the atomic bomb and the post-war rise of China, Korea, and Vietnam. Includes all 26 episodes.

River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive, as a CD recording for checkout and (as featured here) as a print book for checkout

Set against the backdrop of the race to exploit Africa by the colonial powers, a story of courage and adventure brings to life the rivalry between two enemies--a decorated soldier and a young aristocrat/Army officer--as they set out to find the mysterious headwaters of the Nile River. Map included on endpapers.

On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook for checkout through Libby/OverDrive and (as featured here) as a print book for checkout

A landmark work of narrative history that shatters our previous Eurocentric understanding of the Age of Discovery by telling the story of the Indigenous Americans who journeyed across the Atlantic to Europe after 1492. We have long been taught to presume that modern global history began when the "Old World" encountered the "New", when Christopher Columbus "discovered" America in 1492. But, as Caroline Dodds Pennock conclusively shows in this groundbreaking book, for tens of thousands of Aztecs, Maya, Totonacs, Inuit and others--enslaved people, diplomats, explorers, servants, traders--the reverse was true: they discovered Europe. For them, Europe comprised savage shores, a land of riches and marvels, yet perplexing for its brutal disparities of wealth and quality of life, and its baffling beliefs. The story of these Indigenous Americans abroad is a story of abduction, loss, cultural appropriation, and, as they saw it, of apocalypse--a story that has largely been absent from our collective imagination of the times. From the Brazilian king who met Henry VIII to the Aztecs who mocked up human sacrifice at the court of Charles V; from the Inuk baby who was put on show in a London pub to the mestizo children of Spaniards who returned "home" with their fathers; from the Inuit who harpooned ducks on the Avon river to the many servants employed by Europeans of every rank: here are a people who were rendered exotic, demeaned, and marginalized, but whose worldviews and cultures had a profound impact on European civilization. Drawing on their surviving literature and poetry and subtly layering European eyewitness accounts against the grain, Pennock gives us a sweeping account of the Indigenous American presence in, and impact on, early modern Europe.

World History Databases & Recommended Websites

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