Also, check out the home page of our website (signalmountainlibrary.com) for a virtual tour of the proposed addition. There you can see just how perfectly the new space fits into our present one.
Part of our 50th anniversary celebration, this expansion will serve all of our patrons and provide roomy places for community gatherings, children’s programs, book club meetings, picnics and much more. Please join us in this exciting project and help us open a new chapter for the Signal Mountain Library.
Brief Reviews of Some of Our New Nonfiction
“Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era” by Jerry Mitchell is a fascinating look at four cases from the early days of the civil rights movement and how the perpetrators were finally brought to justice. One case is particularly interesting because the victim, Medgar Evers, was killed in June of 1963 in Jackson, Miss., by Byron De La Beckwith, who later became a resident of Signal Mountain.
Beckwith had moved here after being acquitted in his first trial for Evers’ murder and after his second trial ended in a hung jury. Author Mitchell unearthed clues that lead him to suspect that Beckwith was truly guilty. He came to the mountain to interview Beckwith, a KKK member, and his investigation prompted more scrutiny that was eventually instrumental in Beckwith being tried again and, this time, found guilty of Evers’ murder.
This case and the others included in the book are compellingly related by Mitchell, who was an investigative reporter for Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger for more than 30 years. He has won many awards, including a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” and was a finalist for a Pulitzer. In 2019 he founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. “Race Against Time” received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist.
“You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington” by Alexis Coe delves into the private life of our first president, relying on extensive research to present him in an engaging and clever light. “Every now and then a fresh, new biography by a gifted storyteller on a familiar figure captures our imagination,” said historian Doris Kearns Goodwin about the book. Coe hosts the popular podcasts “Presidents Are People, Too” and “No Man’s Land” and is the author of “Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis,” currently being made into a movie.
“Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life” by Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at UCSF, looks at old age and sees a time of both frustration and a time of joy. She calls for empathy for those who are aging, a condition that everyone hopes to experience someday, and suggests ways in which society can readjust to help make our last years more comfortable and enriching. She urges medical professionals to refrain from treating old age as a disease and see elders as meaningful contributors, worthy of compassion and hope.
“Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote” by journalist and historian Craig Fehrman looks at our presidents through the pages of the books they wrote about themselves and their times. Providing access to lesser-known stories of these leaders, the book is full of anecdotes and insights that will absorb and enlighten. Said Chattanooga native Jon Meacham of the book, “[It] should have been written and should surely be read. By looking at presidents through the prism of their published writings, Fehrman throws new light on what John F. Kennedy - himself an author-president - called ‘the vital center of action.’” It has garnered starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.
“Counterpoint: A Memoir of Bach and Mourning” by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Philip Kennicott relates how listening to Bach helped the author deal with the death of his mother. Kennicott found Bach’s music to be the perfect catalyst for him because it encompassed both despair and joy. He describes how he spent five years learning to play Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and how this mastery helped him deal with his loss. But it is his explanations of the music that are so enthralling and memorable. Three starred reviews - BookPage, Booklist and Kirkus - concur. It will appeal to every music lover, especially those who have tackled Bach.
“Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird” by Joshua Hammer is a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale that follows British agent Andy McWilliam who is on the trail of Jeffrey Lendrum, a smuggler who makes his money capturing and then selling the eggs of wild peregrine falcons. Prized for their speed, the birds are worth millions of dollars to the men who race them, and this story takes readers around the globe on McWilliams’ quest to thwart the bad guys. Reminiscent of Susan Orlean’s book “The Orchid Thief,” it is a thrilling story that you could never imagine.
“The Man in the Red Coat” by Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes is an elegant look at Belle Epoque Paris in the summer of 1885. The title refers to Samuel Pozzi, a surgeon who was famously painted by artist John Singer Sargent and who rubbed elbows with such literati as Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, and Proust. According to an NPR review, the book shows “some interesting parallels with our own times.”
“Splendid and Vile: A Saga of the Churchill Family, and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson, also author of “The Devil in the White City,” was named one of the most anticipated books of 2020 by numerous news outlets. The book covers the year from May 1940 until May 1941 when Churchill, as Britain’s Prime Minister, led his nation during the Blitz, Hitler’s bombing campaign that killed 45,000. Larson relied on diaries and historical documents, as well as intelligence reports, to describe the day-to-day lives of Churchill and his family during this dangerous year. Readers will be captivated by the author’s skill at creating a fast-moving and gripping work, even though we know the outcome. A review on Lit Hub says it all: “… it makes one long powerfully for real leadership.”