Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist - Bill McKibben


In Oil and Honey (Times Books, $26), Bill McKibben describes his personal transformation from writer and environmentalist to environmental activist. He narrates his journey to the leadership of the movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, which just this past February organized the largest climate rally in U.S. history. The book also tells the story of McKibben’s equally impactful foray into beekeeping. A passionate lover of nature, McKibben draws lessons from these creatures that have both moral and philosophical relevance to the environmental movement. It is this connection to the land that fuels the author’s fire and vigor as an activist. After reading about his journey, any reader would willingly act alongside him.

Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist By Bill McKibben Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250048714
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - July 29th, 2014

Shakespeare's Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects - Neil MacGregor

Shakespeare’s Juliet famously asks, “What’s in a name?” Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, asks what some twenty objects can tell us about the manners and mores of Shakespeare’s Restless World (Viking, $36). Ranging from a communion goblet to a silver medallion to a peddler’s trunk of miscellaneous fabrics, these artifacts offer a trove of illuminating details about Elizabethan history, politics, and culture. In a simple wool cap, MacGregor finds an icon of social stability. A nine-inch, two-prong iron fork recovered at the Rose Theater showed its owner’s continental savvy as well as the importance of concessions to a playhouse’s bottom line. Similarly, MacGregor reads a history of imperial and otherworldly powers in an obsidian “mirror” that belonged to the Aztecs before it was John Dee’s, and notices personal security issues in the rapier and dagger that were standard accessories for young men going out on the town. As he did so brilliantly in A History of the World in 100 Objects, MacGregor lets material culture tell us how much of the past we haven’t lost.

Shakespeare's Restless World: Portrait of an Era By Neil MacGregor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143125945
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - November 4th, 2014

The Smithsonian's History of America in 101 Objects - Richard Kurin

The story of America wouldn’t be complete without Washington’s sword or the furnishings of the Appomattox Court House, but Louis Armstrong’s trumpet and Kermit the Frog are no less essential to the full picture. What many histories may overlook are well within the scope of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects (Penguin Press, $50), the handsome and appealing catalog drawn from the 137 million items (the largest such collection in the world) held by the institution’s nineteen museums and galleries. The book, like the collection, casts its net wide and deep. Here is a portrait of Saint Anthony from the 1700s, part of the Spanish missionary hide-painting tradition rooted in the American Southwest. Here’s a feather cape that King Kamehameha presented to Navy officers in 1829—little knowing that his gracious gesture honored the very power that would eventually end Hawaii’s independence. And here’s a fallout shelter, crystallizing the tensions of the Cold War era. The work of Richard Kurin, the institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, with help from scores of scholars and curators, the compulsively readable volume spotlights representative relics, inventions, symbols, and icons, relating their role in the ongoing chronicle and recounting how they came to be part of the Smithsonian.