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In this month’s roundup of BookLife titles, we feature books about historical subjects. Want to see your book featured? Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at booklife.com/indiespotlight.
Fiction & Poetry
Between These Walls
Michael Newman
ASIN B086H4XMKV
Author statement: “The story follows the search for the true roots of Daniel Singer, a New York art curator adopted at the end of WWII. It reveals the story of three families, one American and two German, from the end of WWI through the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Holocaust, the birth of the State of Israel, and three Middle East wars. The idea for the story came to me on a visit to Berlin. I saw small bronze plaques on the pavement in front of some apartment buildings. They commemorated Jewish people living in the apartments above the plaques that were hauled off to Nazi concentration camps during WWII and never returned. I wondered what had happened to those people, who they were, who occupied those apartments now, and how they had come into possession of them. I am the son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors and an immigrant to Canada after the 1956 Hungarian uprising.”

Dead Heat to Destiny
J.B. Rivard
ASIN B0BL5P29YP
Author statement:Dead Heat to Destiny is a fast-paced World War I novel that offers an exciting blend of romance and espionage. The book follows a beautiful French artist, a spirited American pilot, and a determined German officer as their lives and loves tangle in an explosive fight for survival, drawing them together—and toward a spy who is secretly working to tip the balance of WWI. Although much research on the U.S. Army’s fledgling Aviation Section had been done, much more was needed to support the four main characters of the novel. This research included the German invasion of Belgium and France in 1914, details of the booming fashion industry in Paris 1910-1917, the buildup of the German Imperial Navy and its advances in U-boat design, the operation of the German spy agency Etappendienst, the pursuit of Pancho Villa by General Pershing’s Army in 1916, and much more. It was in-depth and exhausting, but also rewarding.”

The Elk in the Glade: The World of Pioneer and Painter
Jennie Hicks
Bruce E. Whitacre
ISBN 978-1-73676-880-8
Author statement: “Based on personal memories and family oral history, this debut collection of poems traces the life and legacy of a family matriarch, my great-grandmother Jennie Hicks. The daughter of American pioneers, she marries a successful farmer, bearing him three girls, seeing them all married, only to outlive him and the farm. Once again alone and facing hardship, she transforms an almost forgotten hobby, her young girl dream, into a brilliant 30-year career as a successful landscape painter, the future pride of her hometown, and an important figure in American art. I was fortunate to grow up with generous, skillful storytellers like Jennie and her daughters. Their pioneer, Depression, and postwar experiences on the Nebraska plains rooted me throughout my life. Over the past couple of years, revisiting these memories inspired me to put this collection together using various poetic devices and forms that help keep the writing at the heart of the action and emotion in ways prose or other genres would have made more challenging. (And long-winded!) Romance, Western tall tales, tragedy, and transcendence come together here and I am grateful for this chance to share the gifts these wise women passed down to me.”
Nonfiction
A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, Volume 1: Pre-Divisional Tiebreakers Through 1976
Evan Thompson
ISBN 978-1-09-837280-4
Author statement: “This book is a game-by-game history of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Volume I covers the five pre-divisional tiebreaker series and the 1969-76 American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series. Famous events in these games include the Shot Heard ’Round the World and Chris Chambliss’s walk-off home run for the 1976 AL Pennant. Subsequent years will be covered in future volumes. I got the idea to write the book when I once searched for one just like it. Beverly Cleary once said that if the book you want to read isn’t on the shelf, you must write it. So that’s what I did. After three years of research and editing, it hit the shelves. In the process, I landed my dream job—a baseball writer covering my favorite team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.”

James A. Bailey: The Genius Behind the Barnum & Bailey Circus
Gloria G. Adams
ISBN 978-1-73676-880-8
Author statement: “Orphaned at age 8, James Anthony Bailey, through hard work and determination, grew up to become the owner and manager of one of the most famous circuses of the nineteenth century, the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth. Though history has swept him into the iconic shadow of his famous business partner, Bailey was the brilliant manager who maintained the success of the circus, even for 15 years following Barnum’s death. When I became interested in finding out more about James A. Bailey, I went looking for a biography to read. I discovered that there were none! So I set out to write one myself, as I felt that this extraordinary man had never received the recognition he so richly deserves.”

Royal Scythia, Greece, Kyiv Rus
Andy Lazko
ASIN B0959JMVCJ
Author statement: “The Scythians are commonly thought to be an Iranian tribe, but were they? Herodotus described them as the conquerors of Persia who looked and spoke a different language than the Iranians. He also mentioned Royal Scythia being situated within the territory of present-day Ukraine and the Dnieper River being the sacred one for them—the largest and the most impressive of the Scythian Royal Barrows are situated in its vicinity. The Scythian mythology was so powerful that even the Greeks borrowed some of the Scythian gods. Which gods they borrowed and who might have manufactured the famous Scythian gold art are the subjects of this book.”

The World’s Oldest Sky Chart: Dunhuang, T’ang China, 648–683
Douglas Bullis
ISBN 978-1-99-896502-5
Author statement: “Caravan guides who wanted to safely navigate the ancient Silk Road didn’t look to the horizon, they looked to the night skies above. This is the story of the 1903 discovery of the only known example of the first sky atlas ever drawn anywhere in the world. It was found at the end of a long dusty silk scroll devoted to weather divination that had lain hidden for over a thousand years behind a false wall in one of the caves of the Mogao Buddhist Cave Complex in Dunhuang, China. This book describes the astronomical significance of the chart and depicts the ancient Chinese star constellations. It frames the chart’s function as a desert caravan guide in the larger picture of Buddhist art from India entering into Chinese culture.”
Religion
The Gospel of Luke: Word for Word Bible Comic
Simon Amadeus Pillario
ISBN 978-1-914299-08-7
Author statement: “Luke’s Gospel is one of the most influential pieces of literature in Christianity, religion, and history of all time! This graphic novel presents every word, chapter, and verse, within its historical, cultural, and geographical context. The unabridged story is illustrated in a bold contemporary style but remains as faithful to the Christian scripture as possible. The comic seeks to paint a balanced biblical picture of Jesus. By including his every word, action, and interaction, whether loving or wrathful, long-suffering or harsh, servant or king, we get a more accurate depiction of the person of Christ and his mission as Messiah. This work features the bestselling modern Bible translation, the NIV, with verse numbers at the bottom of each page. As a dyslexic person, I found reading the condensed and lengthy text of the Bible very challenging. I thought, ‘Someone should make a comic version of the Bible that includes every word,’ and that’s how this project began. I’m also a big history nerd so I wanted all the images to be as historically accurate as possible. That’s why all the landscapes, clothes, weapons, and even the plants and animals are specific to the time and region. Religious or otherwise, history fans will enjoy the setting from this book.”

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