European History

In this Collection, explore thousands of years of European History through the lens of literature. Featuring selections ranging from ancient classics such as The History of the Peloponnesian War to contemporary fiction titles, this Collection traces the cultures, conflicts, and figures that shaped the European continent from the ancient empires to the modern day.

Publication year 1950Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Lyric Poem, Modernism, Post-War Era, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Grief / Death, History: European, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

Publication year 98Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European, Ancient Rome

“Agricola” is an essay by Roman senator and historian Tacitus in praise of his father-in-law, Roman general Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Written c. 98 AD, five years after Agricola’s death, the work encompasses several genres. In one sense, it is a biography, a genre that in ancient Greece and Rome could also encompass history and oratory. “Agricola” also serves the function of a funeral oration, a speech praising the deceased that is meant to provide comfort... Read Agricola Summary


Publication year 1931Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Colonialism, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags History: Asian, History: European, Politics / Government

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: Colonialism, Society: EducationTags Historical Fiction, Social Justice, Class, Education, History: World, History: Asian, History: European, Incarceration, Politics / Government

Publication year 1945Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Philosophy, Religion / Spirituality, Politics / Government, History: European

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Disability, History: European

All the Light We Cannot See is a historical novel by Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner in 2014. The novel alternates between the lives of its two central characters—Marie-Laure Leblanc, a girl who grows up in Paris and loses her eyesight to cataracts at age six; and Werner Pfennig, a boy from a mining town in Germany who joins the Nazi military to escape working in the mines. As the novel opens, Marie-Laure and Werner... Read All the Light We Cannot See Summary


Publication year 1798Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: EconomicsTags Business / Economics, Philosophy, Sociology, Age of Enlightenment, Poverty, Food, Science / Nature, Class, History: European

An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Malthus was first published anonymously in 1798. Its core argument, that human population will inevitably outgrow its capacity to produce food, widely influenced the field of early 19th century economics and social science. Immediately after its first printing, Malthus’s essay garnered significant attention from his contemporaries, and he soon felt the need to reveal his identity. Although it was highly controversial, An Essay on the Principle... Read An Essay on the Principle of Population Summary


Publication year 1945Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: CommunityTags Satire, History: European, Politics / Government, Philosophy, Animals, Post-War Era, Allegory / Fable / Parable, British Literature

Published in 1945, Animal Farm by George Orwell (1903-1950) achieved immediate success and remains one of Orwell’s most popular works. A political satire in the guise of a moving and whimsical animal fable, the novella is about a group of farm animals who overthrow their owner, Mr. Jones, and establish animal rule. Although the animals start with high hopes for Animal Farm as a harmonious and just utopia where “all animals are equal” (19), it... Read Animal Farm Summary


Publication year 1552Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

Dominican Friar Bartolomé de Las Casas’s A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies is a primary source on the genocide of indigenous peoples during Spanish colonization of the Americas. This account of Las Casas, who spent much of his life in the New World, specifically spans the years 1509-1542, with some reference to the years between 1542 and 1552, when the book was published. The text mostly details events that occurred in present-day... Read A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies Summary


Publication year 1953Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European

A Woman in Berlin is a memoir first published in 1954. The memoir documents the experiences of a German woman as the Russian Army invades Berlin at the end of the Second World War. The book remained unpublished in German until 1959; until 2003, the identity of the author remained a mystery. Originally, the book was published as the work of an anonymous woman, but the author was eventually revealed to be journalist Marta Hillers... Read A Woman in Berlin Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

William Manchester's A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance investigates the causes of the Dark Ages and the people and events that led to the birth of the Renaissance. The book, published in 1992, is notable for its lively storytelling and portrayals of some of the greatest villains and heroes of the period. A World Lit Only by Fire is intended as an entertaining, informative book about a period in... Read A World Lit Only by Fire Summary


Publication year 1959Genre Play, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Historical Fiction, Play: Tragedy, Religion / Spirituality, History: European, Politics / Government, French Literature, Modernism

Becket or The Honor of God is a 1959 play by the French dramatist Jean Anouilh. It portrays a fictionalized version of the conflict that took place between King Henry II of England and the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, in the 12th century. The English translation of the play premiered on Broadway in 1960 to great acclaim and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 1964.The central conflict of Becket, which ended in... Read Becket Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, History: European, History: World

Behind the Bedroom Wall is a 1996 Young Adult historical fiction novel by Korean American author Laura E. Williams. The novel won the 1997 Jane Addams’ Children’s Book Award. Williams has written several other novels, including The Mystic Lighthouse series, Up a Creek, The Ghost Stallion, The Executioner’s Daughter, The Can Man, and Unexpected.Set in 1942 Germany, Behind the Bedroom Wall follows a 13-year-old Aryan German girl named Korinna Rehme, who is an active member... Read Behind the Bedroom Wall Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, History: European

Mark Sullivan’s Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a coming-of-age historical novel that follows Pino Lella, a 17-year-old Milanese boy, as he navigates the dangers of Nazi-occupied Italy during the height of World War II. The novel is largely based on the real-life account of Pino Lella, who was an old man by the time he decided to share his story. Sullivan’s novel is based on Pino’s memories of events, interviews with Holocaust historians, Italian Catholic... Read Beneath a Scarlet Sky Summary


Publication year 1877Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Class, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Natural World: AnimalsTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Animals, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Class, History: European, Poverty, Religion / Spirituality, Social Justice, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Urban Development, Victorian Period, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Black Beauty was written by English novelist Anna Sewell, and published in 1877. It quickly became extremely popular, and led to increased activism and public concern for the humane treatment of horses and other animals. It went on to become one of best-selling novels of all time, and has been adapted numerous times into films and theatre productions. Sewell used her novel to explore themes such as kindness and responsibility, and to critique social problems... Read Black Beauty Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European, History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee

Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir (1997) tells the story of the author’s path to embracing his Armenian identity and understanding the legacies of a dark history. Born into the comfortable and consumerist suburbs of mid-century American suburbia, Balakian experienced the vestibules of his family’s Armenian culture mostly through the influence of his maternal grandmother. As he grew up, he caught other glimpses of the family’s heritage; in particular, home rituals in their... Read Black Dog of Fate Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, Politics / Government

In Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Timothy Snyder, a historian specializing in Central and Eastern European history and the Holocaust, offers a groundbreaking examination of the pogroms and mass killings perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union before and during World War II. Published in 2010 by Basic Books, this seminal work explores the geopolitical, ideological, and military confrontations between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union that led to the deaths of approximately... Read Bloodlands Summary


Publication year 1941Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags History: European, Politics / Government

Publication year 2001Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags History: World, Latin American Literature, Arts / Culture, Military / War, Politics / Government, History: European, Class, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America, 4th Edition, by John Charles Chasteen was published in 2016. The first edition was printed in 2001. Chasteen works as an author, translator, and professor of Latin American history and culture. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some of his other notable works are Americanos: The Struggle for Latin American Independence, National Rhythms, African Roots: The Deep History of... Read Born in Blood and Fire Summary


Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Religion / Spirituality, Class, Gender / Feminism, History: European, British Literature, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages

American author Karen Cushman’s middle grade novel, Catherine, Called Birdy, explores the life of a young woman in 13th-century England. Published in 1994, the book won the Newbery Honor the following year. It is currently being adapted for the screen by actor, writer, and director Lena Dunham. This detailed work of historical fiction immerses the reader in the very different world of medieval England, with its emphasis on religion as the organizing force behind daily... Read Catherine, Called Birdy Summary


Publication year -1Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Lyric Poem, Love / Sexuality, Ancient Rome, History: European

Publication year 1400Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: ClassTags History: European, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Military / War, Class, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Mythology, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Historical Fiction

Published in 2018, Circe retells the story of the eponymous Greek mythological figure. Although traditionally viewed as a heartless, savagely beautiful witch who lures sailors to their deaths, the Circe of Madeline Miller’s imagining is quite different. This Circe is a multidimensional, flawed, and empathetic character struggling to find meaning and worth in her immortal life. Through Miller’s detailed and honest first-person narrative, which takes place over thousands of years, the evil witch becomes relatable.The... Read Circe Summary


Publication year 1932Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: ColonialismTags Lyric Poem, Modernism, Philosophy, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, History: European, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Class, Depression / Suicide, History: European, Politics / Government, Poverty

Crispin: The Cross of Lead is a 2002 children’s historical fiction novel by Avi. Set in medieval England, the novel follows the adventures of a boy who goes on the run after he is falsely accused of theft and murder and explores themes related to poverty, education, choice, and freedom. Crispin won the Newbery Medal in 2003. A sequel, Crispin at the Edge of the World, was released in 2006, while a third novel, Crispin:... Read Crispin: The Cross of Lead Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Colonialism / Postcolonialism, History: World, Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: European, History: Middle Eastern, History: Asian

Culture and Imperialism is a nonfiction book published in 1993 by the Palestinian American author and academic Edward Said. Originating from a series of lectures that Said delivered in 1985 and 1986, Culture and Imperialism is an expansion of the ideas set out in his groundbreaking earlier work, Orientalism. Considered one of the founders of the field of post-colonial studies, Said looks at how the formerly colonized margins influence the metropolitan centers, and vice versa... Read Culture and Imperialism Summary


Publication year 1842Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Classic Fiction, Satire, Class, History: European, Politics / Government, Religion / Spirituality, Russian Literature, Victorian Period

Nikolai Gogol called his 1842 work Dead Souls an “epic poem in prose,” though most critics and scholars now refer to it as a novel. Structured in part as an analog to Dante’s Inferno, Dead Souls is an absurdist social satire of imperial Russia before the emancipation of the serfs, especially the foibles and customs of the Russian nobility. Though Gogol is not interested in strict realism, his portraits of nobles who speak French more... Read Dead Souls Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Biography, NonfictionTags Politics / Government, History: World, WWI / World War I, History: European

In Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, writer Erik Larson traces the Lusitania’s final journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The Lusitania is a British passenger liner owned by the Cunard Steamship Company. First sailing in 1907, the Lusitania quickly sets records for the fastest journey across the Atlantic Ocean, stealing the coveted Blue Riband away from Germany.Dead Wake follows the Lusitania’s final journey, which took place during the first week of May 1915... Read Dead Wake Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Marriage, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, History: European, Health / Medicine

Publication year 1921Genre Poem, FictionTags History: European, Grief / Death, Modernism

Publication year 1986Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: ColonialismTags History: European, Science / Nature, Anthropology, Animals, Agriculture, History: World

Publication year 1815Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Marriage, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Victorian Period, Romanticism / Romantic Period, British Literature, Historical Fiction, Romance, Humor, Class, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Relationships

Emma is a fiction novel published in 1815 by the English author Jane Austen. The book centers on the character development of its eponymous protagonist, a genteel young woman on a country estate who meddles in the love lives of friends and neighbors. Jane Austen was conscious that Emma’s snobbery, vanity, and meddling might make her a “heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” (Austen-Leigh, James Edward. A Memoir of Jane Austen. London:... Read Emma Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Family, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags History: European, Politics / Government, Sociology

Publication year 2021Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: ImmigrationTags WWII / World War II, History: World, Military / War, History: U.S., History: European, Grief / Death

Publication year -1Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Lyric Poem, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Ancient Greece

Sappho wrote “Fragment 31” centuries ago in her Greek homeland with the intention of performing her poetry as songs. Contemporary readers should therefore remember two important details. First, readers who do not read Greek experience Sappho’s poetry through the words of a translator who adds unique interpretations and impressions to Sappho’s original version. This study guide uses the Christopher Childers translation of “Fragment 31” which first appeared in Boston University’s literary magazine AGNI, volume 83... Read Fragment 31 Summary


Publication year 1986Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: MarriageTags History: European

In Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence, published in 2004, historian Gene Brucker describes the events of a single relationship in fifteenth-century Florence. This “microhistory” of a romance and subsequent court trial demonstrates how Florentine society treated love, marriage, and social class.In Chapter 1, Brucker reveals that he learned of the relationship between Giovanni di Ser Lodovico della Casa and Lusanna di Girolamo through the records of the notary Ser Filippo Mazzei... Read Giovanni and Lusanna Summary


Publication year 1918Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: War, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Lyric Poem, Military / War, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: European, WWI / World War I, British Literature, The Lost Generation

Publication year 2003Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Class, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: European, History: World, Military / War, Politics / Government, Incarceration

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Historical Fiction, History: European, Gender / Feminism, Health / Medicine, Arts / Culture, British Literature, Elizabethan Era

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Play: Tragedy, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Classical Period, Grief / Death, History: European, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags History: European

Herodotus, “the Father of History,” researched and wrote the Histories in the middle of the 5th century BCE. Composed in the Ionic dialect of ancient Greek, this expansive account of the Greco-Persian war that occurred during the first two decades of the 5th century is the first prose masterpiece in European literature. The work traces the conflict between the Greek city-states and the Persian empire from its origins in the conquest of the Hellenic settlements... Read Histories Summary


Publication year -1Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European, Ancient Greece

The History of the Peloponnesian War, also known as Histories, recounts the war between the Athenian alliance (called the Delian League by modern historians) and Sparta and its allies (called the Peloponnesian League by modern historians), which took place from 431-404 BC. Composed in the 5th century BC by Thucydides (c. 460-400), it is the first attempt to apply empirical research and analysis to understanding contemporaneous human events. For this reason, the text is inextricably... Read History of the Peloponnesian War Summary


Publication year 1995Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Nation, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: EducationTags History: European, Irish Literature, Religion / Spirituality

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a popular history by Irish American author Thomas Cahill, published in 1995. The book argues that Ireland’s conversion to Christianity was instrumental in preserving the remnants of classical culture that survived in Western Europe after the Roman Empire’s demise. The book was on The New York Times Best Seller list for... Read How the Irish Saved Civilization Summary


Publication year 1963Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Historical Fiction, History: European, WWII / World War II, Action / Adventure, Religion / Spirituality

I Am David by Anne Holm is a children’s historical fiction novel written in 1963. It was originally written in Danish but has since been translated into many languages, including English, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, and Konkani. It was first published in the United States under the name North to Freedom but eventually was retranslated into its original title. It was made into a movie in 2003. The novel received several awards... Read I Am David Summary


Publication year 1947Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: WarTags History: European, Incarceration, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, Italian Literature

If This Is a Man is a Holocaust memoir written by Primo Levi, first published by the small publishing house Francesco de Silva in 1947. The text was out of print by 1952. In June 1958, however, the publisher Enaudi, which had previously rejected the manuscript, republished it with slight revisions, and translations began to appear. Re-publication secured Levi’s status as a canonical writer of the Holocaust.This study guide refers to the English translation of... Read If This Is a Man Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Historical Fiction, Military / War, History: European

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Arts / Culture, Science / Nature, History: European, Renaissance, Italian Literature

Inferno by Dan Brown is the fourth installment in Brown’s Robert Langdon series of mystery/thriller novels, following (in order) Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol, and preceding Origin. Each edition covers a self-contained story, so readers need not follow the series in order, and often includes themes centered on European and Christian history and cultural traditions. The title character, Robert Langdon, is the only recurring character. Inferno won the Goodreads... Read Inferno Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer is a memoir written by Irene Gut Opdyke with help from historical-fiction author Jennifer Armstrong. The book details Opdyke’s experience as a young Polish woman who rescued Jews from the Holocaust during World War II. Armstrong explains in a note at the end of the book that she constructed the narrative after countless hours interviewing Opdyke. For the purpose of this study guide, Opdyke is referred to... Read In My Hands Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Holocaust, Politics / Government, History: European, WWII / World War II

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson is a non-fiction book published in 2011. It recounts the early years of Germany's Nazi regime from the perspective of the American ambassador, William Dodd, and his family. In Berlin, the family watches with growing horror as Hitler increases his dictatorial control over Germany, rearms the country in preparation for war, and conducts a national campaign of violent... Read In the Garden of Beasts Summary


Publication year 1972Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Fantasy, Magical Realism, Italian Literature, History: Asian, History: European

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (1923-1985) was originally published in 1972 in Italian and translated into English in 1974. Calvino’s ninth novel, it received a Nebula Novel Award nomination in 1975.According to New York Times reviewer Joseph McElroy, Calvino already had the reputation of being Italy’s “most original storyteller” for his use of fantastical and fabulist motifs to explore philosophical and scientific themes such as evolution (McElroy). Invisible Cities continues this trend by using the... Read Invisible Cities Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Politics / Government, Military / War, History: European

Publication year 1898Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Politics / Government, History: European, Journalism, French Literature

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Military / War, History: European, History: World

Killing Patton is a 2014 historical nonfiction work by American authors and journalists Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It explores the final months of World War II in Europe from an American perspective—specifically the role iconic General George S. Patton played in securing eventual Allied victory. The book also explores Patton’s death after a motor vehicle accident, floating the conspiracy theory that this death was no accident. Investigating the motives of Stalin, Eisenhower, and others... Read Killing Patton Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: ColonialismTags Colonialism / Postcolonialism, History: European, History: World

Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost offers a substantial overview of the period from 1895 until 1908 when King Leopold II of Belgium ruled the Congo—or at least the very large territory around the Congo River basin that he claimed as his own. The book also addresses the years leading up to Leopold’s acquisition of the Congo and those following the colony’s transfer to the control of the Belgian government. Though much of the book is devoted... Read King Leopold's Ghost Summary


Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Society: ImmigrationTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Military / War, History: European, WWI / World War I

Karen Hesse’s young adult historical novel Letters from Rifka (1992) takes place between 1919 and 1920 and follows a young Jewish girl, Rifka, and her family as they escape persecution in Russia and begin a new life in America. The novel takes the form of letters Rifka writes, but cannot send, to her cousin in Russia, composed in the blank spaces of a volume of poetry by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The work thus combines... Read Letters from Rifka Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Children's Literature, History: European

Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is a work of creative nonfiction written by Jack Mayer and originally published in 2010. The book tells two overlapping stories. One is about Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who helped save 2,500 Jewish children in Warsaw from the Nazis during World War II. The other is about three high school girls—Liz Cambers, Megan Stewart, and Sabrina Coons. In 1999, the girls, with the help of... Read Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Summary


Publication year 1738Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Nation, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Satire, Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Age of Enlightenment, Neoclassical, British Literature, Finance / Money / Wealth, History: European, Politics / Government

Publication year 1851Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Education, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags History: European, Social Justice, Poverty, Journalism

Publication year 1895Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Class, Society: EconomicsTags Classic Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Religion / Spirituality, Class, History: European, Poverty, Russian Literature

“Master and Man” is a short story, written in Russian, by Leo Tolstoy in 1895—a period of the author’s life often considered distinct from the early periods of his most famous novels. Having disowned these previous works, the 67-year-old began writing stories on ethical-religious themes. Set in post-reform Russia, when serfdom was abolished and capitalistic forms of work were redefining social life, “Master and Man” is also a commentary on the effects of the new... Read Master and Man Summary


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Publication year 1986Genre Graphic Novel/Book, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags History: World, WWII / World War II, Holocaust, History: European, Post Modernism

Maus by Art Spiegelman is the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize. It originally ran in Spiegelman’s Raw magazine between 1980 and 1991 before receiving mainstream attention as two collected volumes, Maus I in 1986 and Maus II in 1991. This guide is based on the 1996 complete edition. This historic memoir interlaces two narratives, one of Spiegelman’s Jewish father as he survives World War II Poland and the Auschwitz concentration camp, and... Read Maus Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Philosophy, German literature, History: European, Western

Publication year 1910Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Past, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Depression / Suicide, Addiction / Substance Abuse, History: European, Psychology, American Literature

Publication year 1880Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Society: Class, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Identity: Femininity, Identity: MasculinityTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Love / Sexuality, Realism, Realistic Fiction, Naturalism, Class, History: European, French Literature

Publication year 2000Genre Book, NonfictionTags Holocaust, History: European, WWII / World War II

This guide is based on the first edition of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, published in 2001 by Princeton University Press. Written by Jan Tomasz Gross, Neighbors is a critically acclaimed account of Poland’s role in the Holocaust. It inspired the 2012 film Aftermath, directed by Wladyslaw Pasikowski.On July 10, 1941, nearly two years after the German invasion of Poland initiated World War II, the non-Jewish citizens of a small... Read Neighbors Summary


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Publication year 1956Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Holocaust, History: European, WWII / World War II

Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a memoir recounting the author’s experience in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz, Gleiwitz, and Buchenwald during the last two years of World War II. The book was published in France in 1958; a shortened English translation was published in the United States in 1960.In 1944, the 15-year old Wiesel, his father, mother, and sisters were deported from the village of Sighet in Hungary and interned at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration... Read Night Summary


Publication year 1624Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Community, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, History: European, Relationships, British Literature

Publication year 1998Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags WWII / World War II, Holocaust, History: European, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Anita Lobel is the author of No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War. First published in 1998 and a finalist for the National Book Award, the memoir details Lobel’s memories of growing up in Poland and how she survived World War II and the Holocaust. As the book follows Lobel from a child to a teen, it’s also a coming-of-age story and features themes about displacement and identity, as well as ideas like the differences... Read No Pretty Pictures Summary


Publication year 1985Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Place, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: WarTags Lyric Poem, Irish Literature, History: European

Publication year 1859Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, Arts / Culture, History: European, British Literature, Victorian Period

On Liberty is a philosophical essay on ethics, society, and politics published in 1859 by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill. His work on the subject matter extended back several years, through an illustrious career as a politician and philosopher. Mill’s ideas center on the concept of utilitarianism, which emphasizes efficiency and collective well-being. The book remains in print in the 21st century.SummaryOn Liberty is divided into five chapters: an introduction; “On the liberty of... Read On Liberty Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

Published in 1992, Christopher R. Browning’s Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland explores the activities of a battalion of German police officers who are, in various ways, involved in the murder of vast numbers of Jews in occupied Poland during World War II. The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 are largely middle-aged men from working- and middle-class backgrounds with little prior experience of military service or Nazi ideology... Read Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Summary


Publication year 1532Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Gender, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Love / Sexuality, Military / War, Italian Literature, Renaissance, Mental Illness

Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Relationships, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality, History: European

Outlander, published by Random House in 1991, is the first in a highly successful romantic novel series written by Diana Gabaldon, a #1 New York Times bestselling author. The series was adapted into a historical drama television series in 2014.Plot SummaryTold from the perspective of 27-year-old Englishwoman Claire Beauchamp, Outlander begins in 1945 in Inverness, Scotland. Former WWII nurse Claire Beauchamp and her historian husband Frank Randall have returned to Scotland to reconnect after several... Read Outlander Summary


Publication year 1928Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Identity: GenderTags Historical Fiction, WWI / World War I, British Literature, History: European

Publication year 1995Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags History: European, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

Parallel Journeys (1995) is a nonfiction book by Eleanor Ayer. It won several awards, including the American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults. An author of many nonfiction books about the Holocaust, Ayer pairs the stories of Alfons Heck (a former Hitler Youth member) and Helen Waterford (a Holocaust survivor) to show how Nazism impacts the people it empowered and targeted. Ayer didn’t choose Alfons and Helen randomly. They formed a partnership in the... Read Parallel Journeys Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags History: European, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Religion / Spirituality, Class

Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: War, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Philosophy, History: European, Ancient Greece, Military / War

Publication year 1836Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Community, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Family, Relationships: MarriageTags Classic Fiction, Victorian Period, Action / Adventure, Humor, Travel Literature, Class, History: European, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Sports

The debut novel of British author Charles Dickens, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) was first published as a series by Chapman and Hall between 1836 and 1837. The Pickwick Papers chronicles the adventures of the members of the Pickwick Club, a group of travelers who journey around England and share their experiences. Because of the original serial format of the novel, the chapters contain individual but interconnected... Read Pickwick Papers Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Economics, Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Politics / Government, Business / Economics, Urban Development, Poverty, Finance / Money / Wealth, History: Asian, History: African , History: European, History: U.S., Social Justice, Class

Planet of Slums is a non-fiction book published in 2006 by American author and urban theorist Mike Davis. It chronicles the spread of poverty in cities around the world at a time when more than a billion people live in what the United Nations (UN) classifies as "slums."SummaryIn 1950, only 86 cities around the world had populations of one million people or more. When Davis wrote this book in 2005, he predicted that by 2015... Read Planet of Slums Summary


Publication year 100Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: European, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Classical Period

Publication year 1790Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags History: European

Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, first published in 1790, is written as a letter to a French friend of Burke’s family, Charles-Jean-François Depont, who requests Burke’s opinion of the French Revolution to date. Burke is a well-connected politician and political theorist of the late eighteenth century, though this tract would become his first significant work on the subject. In Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke speaks at length on the development... Read Reflections On The Revolution In France Summary


Publication year 1989Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

Modris Eksteins’s 1989 nonfiction book, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age, takes its title from a scandalous 1913 Russian ballet. Critics believed that the ballet’s complex, atonal score, stomping choreography, and the feature of a virginal sacrifice mocked classical ballet conventions. Eksteins—a Canadian historian and author—argues that the juxtaposition of violence and creativity in the ballet echoed in both World War I—“The Great War”—and its aftermath.Eksteins focuses on... Read Rites of Spring Summary


Publication year 2002Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

In his 2002 book, Salt: A World History, author Mark Kurlansky delves into the history of salt, as well as its impact on empires, wars, and economies, in a text that is lively, comprehensive, and surprising. The book is divided into three parts and begins thousands of years in the past. Kurlansky traces the earliest knowledge of salt in the histories of China and Egypt. The Chinese made salt from evaporated seawater and used it... Read Salt: A World History Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionTags Crime / Legal, History: European

Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland interprets the Irish “Troubles” in which clashing state and paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland fought an unofficial ethno-nationalist war. Though the monograph is a work of non-fiction investigative journalism, it unfolds like a murder mystery, focusing on the case of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) abducted and secretly killed in 1972. The... Read Say Nothing Summary


Publication year 2003Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Identity: Indigenous, Life/Time: The PastTags History: European, History: The Americas, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

Publication year 1880Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Politics / Government, Philosophy, History: European

Publication year 2023Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Self Discovery, Society: Class, Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags History: European, Politics / Government, British Literature, Animals, Grief / Death, Depression / Suicide, Class, Relationships, Journalism, Bullying

Publication year 1588Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: European, Military / War, Politics / Government

Publication year 1998Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: The Past, Society: WarTags History: European, Military / War, WWII / World War II

Publication year 2003Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags History: European

Stasiland, by Anna Funder, originally published in 2002, is the true account of life in East Germany during the Communist regime, from 1949 to 1990. It tells the stories of those who resisted and engaged in what has been called the most perfected surveillance state of all time.First, Funder visits Leipzig, Germany, to meet with Miriam Weber, a woman who was arrested by the Stasi, brutally interrogated, and who later tried to escape over the... Read Stasiland Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Historical Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Relationships, Arts / Culture, History: European, Politics / Government, British Literature

Sweet Tooth is a 2012 novel by Ian McEwan. Set in the 1970s, it tells the story of one woman’s involvement with MI5 and the world of literature. Themes include the balance of power, navigating lies and deceit, and conditional versus unconditional acceptance.Plot SummarySerena Frome grows up in a small, uninteresting English city. In the 1960s, her mother encourages her to study mathematics at Cambridge University even though Serena (a keen reader) would rather study... Read Sweet Tooth Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Music, Realistic Fiction, British Literature, Arts / Culture, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Gender / Feminism, History: African , History: European, Love / Sexuality, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Swing Time (2016) is renowned author Zadie Smith’s fifth novel. Inspired by classic movie musicals and Smith’s childhood passion for musical theater, Swing Time is a story about women, how forms of privilege warp our worldviews, and the ways in which history informs our present. The novel is divided into seven parts, each narrated by the same unnamed protagonist sometimes as a child and sometimes as an adult.One of the most respected literary voices of... Read Swing Time Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Food, History: European, Arts / Culture

Publication year 1969Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Identity: Masculinity, Society: WarTags Mythology, Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, History: European, Military / War, History: World

Publication year 1186Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European, French Literature

The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus (Andrew the Chaplain, whose true identity remains unknown) was composed in Latin between 1186 and 1190. This study guide refers to the translation by John Jay Parry. The original Latin title, De amore, translates literally to “about” or “concerning” love, which reflects the text’s theme of inquiring into love—what it is, for whom is it possible, how to provoke it, how to sustain and increase it, and... Read The Art of Courtly Love Summary


Publication year 2Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Life/Time: Midlife, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Femininity, Identity: MasculinityTags Lyric Poem, Romance, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Ancient Rome, Didacticism, Love / Sexuality, Philosophy, Arts / Culture, History: European, Gender / Feminism, Relationships

Publication year 1896Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Teams, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Emotions/Behavior: ForgivenessTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Incarceration, Grief / Death, History: European, LGBTQ, Religion / Spirituality, British Literature, Victorian Period

Publication year 1798Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Grandparents, Society: WarTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Military / War, History: European

“The Battle of Blenheim,” also known as “After Blenheim,” is a satirical, antiwar poem by English Romantic poet Robert Southey, written in 1798 and published in the Morning Post newspaper on August 9 of that year. The poem, which is in the form of a ballad, looks back at the Battle of Blenheim, which was fought around the Bavarian town of Blindheim, in southern Germany, on August 2, 1704, during the War of the Spanish... Read The Battle of Blenheim Summary


Publication year 1726Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: War, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Society: Nation, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Military / War, History: European, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, British Literature

“The Battle of Maldon” is a heroic poem, also classified as an epic, dating from the 10th century. Originally written in Old English, the text details a violent battle between the Anglo-Saxon warriors and the raiding Vikings. The Anglo-Saxons are led by Earl Byrhtnoth, who held land in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Essex and fought for his ruler, King Æthelred the Unready. The poem depicts some of the central tenets of Anglo-Saxon culture, praising loyalty... Read The Battle of Maldon Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: TeamsTags Mythology, Fantasy, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, Arts / Culture, Climate Change, History: European, American Literature

The Battle of the Labyrinth is a fantasy-adventure novel inspired Greek mythology and written in 2008 by Rick Riordan. It is the fourth in the Percy Jackson series.The novel begins with Percy Jackson is at his freshman orientation at Good High School. Rachel Elizabeth Dare helps him fight two empousai, spectres who were disguised as cheerleaders. Percy flees to Camp Half-Blood, but Rachel remains. Percy is reunited with Annabeth, and they learn Grover is in... Read The Battle of the Labyrinth Summary


Publication year 1969Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Community, Society: Nation, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: European, Health / Medicine, Science / Nature, Religion / Spirituality, Politics / Government, Urban Development, Leadership/Organization/Management

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Society: ClassTags History: European, Health / Medicine

Publication year 1666Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Identity: Femininity, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Nation, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Classic Fiction, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Philosophy, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Military / War, Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Age of Enlightenment, Restoration

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Natural World: Place, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Fantasy, Mythology, Action / Adventure, Leadership/Organization/Management, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Animals, History: European, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome

Originally published in 2014, The Blood of Olympus is the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s young adult fantasy series The Heroes of Olympus, inspired by Greek and Roman mythologies. The series follows seven demigods—children of one divine and one mortal parent—as they try to stop the earth goddess, Gaea, from rising to power. The novel won several awards, including the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Middle Grade and Children’s Book of 2014. The... Read The Blood of Olympus Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, Love / Sexuality, History: European, Holocaust

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Children's Literature, History: European, History: World, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a historical fiction novel published in 2006 by celebrated Irish author John Boyne, known both for his adult and young adult fiction. Set around the World War II concentration camp Auschwitz, the novel combines realism with parable. It portrays a young German boy, Bruno, whose father is commander of the camp, and his unusual and ultimately tragic friendship with a Jewish boy, Shmuel. The work sold over seven... Read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Children's Literature, History: European

Leon Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box (2013) is a memoir for young readers about the author’s experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust. Leyson was one of the youngest persons on the famous list of Jews that businessman Oskar Schindler employed in his ammunition factory in Poland, thus saving them from execution. The book’s title comes from the fact that Leon, being small of stature, must stand on a wooden box to operate... Read The Boy On The Wooden Box Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: TeamsTags History: U.S., History: European, Sports

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is a work of narrative nonfiction written by Daniel James Brown and published in 2013. The book became a New York Times bestseller and won several awards, including the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The book also inspired a PBS documentary titled The Boys of ’36.Content Warning: The source material references the... Read The Boys in the Boat Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: European

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose is a young adult (YA) nonfiction book published in 2015. Hoose, who previously received a Newbery Honor for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, was inspired to write the book after learning about the Churchill Club on a visit to the Museum of Danish Resistance in Copenhagen. The book is composed of Hoose’s research-based narration of the actions and events surrounding the... Read The Boys Who Challenged Hitler Summary


Publication year 1841Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Historical Fiction, History: European, Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Romanticism / Romantic Period, Realism

The Bronze Horseman: A Saint Petersburg Story is a narrative poem by 19th-century Russian poet, dramatist, and novelist Alexander Pushkin, who is considered Russia’s greatest poet. It was written in 1833, but was not published until 1841, after Pushkin’s death due to censorship of Pushkin’s works by the Russian government.Regarded as one of Pushkin’s most accomplished works, The Bronze Horseman has had a marked influence on Russian literature. The poem tells of the founding of Saint... Read The Bronze Horseman Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Gender, Relationships: Fathers, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags History: European, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1764Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Identity: Masculinity, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Family, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Classic Fiction, Gothic Literature, British Literature, History: European, Politics / Government, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Age of Enlightenment, Religion / Spirituality

The Castle of Otranto, first published in 1764 by English author Horace Walpole (1717-1797), is considered the first supernatural work of Gothic fiction, influencing many well-known 19th century writers such as Clara Reeve, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert Louis Stevenson.The five-chapter long novella revolves around the mysterious supernatural events at the titular castle, whose owner goes to villainous lengths to maintain control of it. Walpole introduces Gothic elements that drive the... Read The Castle of Otranto Summary


Publication year 1839Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Politics & Government, Society: ClassTags Classic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, History: European, Politics / Government, Class, Military / War, French Literature, Italian Literature

Marie-Henri Beyle, writing under his penname Stendhal, published his last complete work, the novel The Charterhouse of Parma, in French in 1839. It tells the story of an Italian nobleman who fights in the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and then navigates the fraught political dynamics of the era known as the Italian Restoration (1814-1848). This was a time when the memory of revolution was repressed and power seemed to many to operate on caprice and intrigue... Read The Charterhouse of Parma Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Birth, Life/Time: The Future, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, British Literature, Climate Change, Depression / Suicide, Grief / Death, Health / Medicine, History: European, Immigration / Refugee, Love / Sexuality, Natural Disaster, Politics / Government

The Children of Men is a dystopian 1992 science fiction novel by P.D. James set in 2021, years after the onset of a mass infertility epidemic. Unless scientists can discover a cure, there will be no more births and the human race will go extinct when the youngest generation dies. This scenario allows James to explore many themes, including existentialism, the meaning of a good life, and the corrupting nature of power. The novel switches... Read The Children of Men Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: The PastTags Psychology, Health / Medicine, History: European, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

Publication year 1955Genre Play, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Life/Time: The Future, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Holocaust, Play: Drama, WWII / World War II, Grief / Death, History: European, Military / War, Love / Sexuality

Publication year 1947Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: War, Relationships: FamilyTags History: European, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, History: World, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

Written between 1942 and 1944, The Diary of Anne Frank, aka The Diary of a Young Girl, is a collection of journal entries by Anne Frank, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl, while in hiding with her family for two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. When Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, her diary was given to her father, Otto Frank, the only known survivor of the family. The diary was first published... Read The Diary of a Young Girl Summary


Publication year 1660Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags History: European, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Reformation, British Literature

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Identity: Gender, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Class, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, Class, History: European, Military / War, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1531Genre Book, NonfictionTags Italian Literature, History: European

In 1516, at the height of the Italian Renaissance, Niccolò Machiavelli pens his Discourses on Livy while in exile from his native city of Florence. The Discourses are Machiavelli’s commentaries on the republic of ancient Rome—how it is founded, maintained, and protected—and how Roman wisdom in the art of statecraft can be used by all republics.The Roman Republic is an early democracy that lasts from 509 BCE to 49 BCE. Roman scholar Titus Livius—“Livy”—first recorded... Read The Discourses Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: ArtTags WWII / World War II, Holocaust, History: European

Publication year 1852Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Economics, Society: Class, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags History: European, Politics / Government, Philosophy, Sociology, German literature

Publication year 1992Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Politics / Government, Philosophy, Business / Economics, History: World, History: European

The End of History and the Last Man by political scientist Francis Fukuyama is a widely read and controversial book on political philosophy published in 1992. In it, Fukuyama argues that the end of the Cold War in 1991 established Western liberal democracy as the final and most successful form of government, thus marking the conclusion of “mankind’s ideological evolution.” Since its original release, the book has been updated in 2006 and 2019 with reassertions... Read The End of History and the Last Man Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Biography, NonfictionTags Holocaust, WWII / World War II, History: European

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Action / Adventure, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, History: European

Publication year 2014Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

First published in 2014, Candance Fleming’s The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia is a young-adult nonfiction book detailing the last generation of Romanovs to rule Russia from 1894 to 1917, and the fall of Russia’s autocracy through the Russian Revolution. The Family Romanov won both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for nonfiction. In The Family Romanov, Fleming combines her nonfiction... Read The Family Romanov Summary


Publication year 1887Genre Play, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Relationships: Marriage, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Play: Drama, Classic Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, Play: Tragedy, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Mental Illness, Relationships, Scandinavian Literature, Naturalism

Publication year 2018Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Crime / Legal, History: European, Science / Nature, Animals

The Feather Thief by American author, screenwriter, and journalist Kirk Wallace Johnson is about the 2009 heist of the British Natural History Museum at Tring. It retraces the background of the 20-year-old American thief, professional flautist, and master fly-tier, Edwin Rist, who stole 299 rare bird skins from the museum. Johnson first heard about the heist while fly-fishing on a river in New Mexico. Living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after years of aid work... Read The Feather Thief Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Reference/Text Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: World, Military / War, WWI / World War I, History: European, Politics / Government

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Gender / Feminism, History: European, Love / Sexuality, Arts / Culture, American Literature

The Flamethrowers is a historical fiction novel published in 2013 by the American author Rachel Kushner. It follows the story of Reno, a young woman experiencing the turbulence of the 1970s in New York City. An aspiring artist, Reno finds herself in remarkable situations both in New York and abroad in Italy. Kushner weaves Italian and American history to highlight how people experience the implications of the societies and histories they inherit. Kushner subverts typical... Read The Flamethrowers Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Book, NonfictionTags Health / Medicine, History: European

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World is a nonfiction book by Steven Johnson. It was published in 2006 and was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by Library Journal and Entertainment Weekly.The immediate subject of The Ghost Map is the cholera outbreak that took place in London in 1854... Read The Ghost Map Summary


Publication year 159Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Fantasy, Mythology, Humor, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Relationships, Animals, History: European, Ancient Rome

Publication year 1984Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionTags History: European

The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History is a nonfiction essay collection published in 1984 by American historian Robert Darnton. Using folktales, oral histories, letters, and police reports, Darnton explores the attitudes and behaviors of 18th-century French men and women, from indigent peasants to the most celebrated minds of the Enlightenment. The book takes its title from a perplexing incident in the late 1730s, in which a group of Parisian printers’... Read The Great Cat Massacre Summary


Publication year 1962Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

The Guns of August is a 1962 Pulitzer Prize–winning book of nonfiction by Barbara W. Tuchman. Tuchman achieved prominence as a historian with her third book, The Zimmerman Telegram, and international fame with The Guns of August. Encompassing the European political arena from King Edward VII’s death through the first month of WWI, The Guns of August offers clarity on the causes of the war, its inevitability, and how it shaped our modern world. Plot... Read The Guns Of August Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Relationships: FamilyTags History: European, Holocaust, WWII / World War II, Christian literature, Religion / Spirituality

The Hiding Place, published in 1971, is by author Corrie ten Boom and co-authors John and Elizabeth Sherrill. Ten Boom’s autobiographical account centers on her family’s work with the Dutch underground during World War II and her family’s punishments after being arrested. The authors consistently draw attention to the ten Boom family’s Christian faith and the ways in which it shaped their experiences and inspired them to persevere. Ten Boom wrote many other books after... Read The Hiding Place Summary


Publication year 1830Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Race / Racism, History: European

Publication year 590Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: European, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, French Literature, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 1136Genre Book, NonfictionTags History: European

Originally composed in Latin, The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth claims to be a history of Britain’s kings from the island’s founding by Trojan descendent Brutus in 1200 BCE, to the Britons’ abandonment of the island in the seventh century CE. The text first appeared in the 1130s and was immediately popular, inspiring retellings and adaptations by writers and artists through the centuries. Because its historical merit is almost nonexistent... Read The History of the Kings of Britain Summary


Publication year 1902Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, British Literature, Classic Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, History: European

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a Sherlock Holmes novel written by his creator, the British author and physician Arthur Conan Doyle, and published in 1902. The book presents the eerie tale of terrifying deaths at a country estate beset by a ferocious giant dog, and Holmes’s ingenious proof that the legend of a canine monster is merely a pretext for murder. Arguably history’s most storied detective, Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed on film, TV... Read The Hound of the Baskervilles Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Race, Society: Nation, Life/Time: The Past, Natural World: Animals, Relationships: Family, Natural World: Flora/plants, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Romance, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Food, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: European, History: World, Immigration / Refugee, LGBTQ, Love / Sexuality, Military / War, Politics / Government, Science / Nature, Race / Racism, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Grief / Death

Publication year 1100Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: SiblingsTags Classic Fiction, Romance, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Religion / Spirituality, History: European, French Literature

The Lais of Marie de France is a collection of 12 romantic narratives—known as Breton Lais—composed in the late 12th century and credited to the French-English poet Marie de France. The lay or lai is a short tale of octosyllabic rhyming couplets which is generally 600–1000 lines long. It can be accompanied by music and is typical of Brittany, a Northern French region with strong Celtic influences. Themes of love, chivalry and the supernatural are... Read The Lais of Marie de France Summary


Publication year -1Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Philosophy, Ancient Greece, History: European

The Last Days of Socrates by Plato is a collection of four texts—Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo—about the trial and execution of Socrates. (Alternate titles for collection include The Trial and Death of Socrates.) These texts, believed to have been composed between 399 and 395 BCE, are considered founding works of Western philosophy that investigate piety, justice, and the immortality of the soul via Socrates’s defense speeches at his trial and his conversations with his... Read The Last Days of Socrates Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, History: European

Publication year 1133Genre Collection of Letters, NonfictionTags Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, History: European, French Literature

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise tells the story of two 12th-century French scholars and lovers. The tragic ending of their love affair leads both to take religious vows, one entering a convent and the other, a monastery. Nearly a decade after their separation, the two reconnect and begin to correspond through letters. Their letters reveal that Abelard has found peace as a monk, even though he is constantly embroiled in charges of heresy on... Read The Letters Of Abelard And Heloise Summary


Publication year 1791Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Life/Time: Aging, Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags British Literature, History: European, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Arts / Culture, Class, Depression / Suicide, Religion / Spirituality, Philosophy

James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) is often considered to be one of the finest pieces of biographical writing in the English language. Samuel Johnson was an English poet, essayist, and lexicographer who produced a pioneering and influential Dictionary of the English Language. However, he is less well-known today for his writings than as the biographical subject for Boswell, a lawyer from Scotland who first met Johnson in 1763. During their 21-year friendship... Read The Life of Samuel Johnson Summary


Publication year 1979Genre Book, NonfictionTags Gender / Feminism, History: European, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, co-authored by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, is a nonfiction scholarly text comprising 16 interconnected essays. Published in 1979, this lengthy volume is now widely considered a foundational text of feminist literary criticism. A second edition appeared in 2000 accompanied by a new Introduction by the authors that offers readers insight into Gilbert and Gubar’s decision to focus the work on... Read The Madwoman in the Attic Summary


Publication year 1990Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags History: European, Politics / Government

The Magic Lantern is a 1989 work of narrative nonfiction by British historian Timothy Garton Ash. Garton Ash is a specialist in European studies with extensive experience writing about the history of Eastern Europe. The Magic Lantern is his third book on the region and followed several years of writing and reporting on Eastern European culture and politics under communism. He is currently Professor of European Studies in the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial... Read The Magic Lantern Summary


Publication year 1963Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Economics, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Politics / Government, Business / Economics, History: European, Sociology, Industrial Revolution, British Literature, Class

Publication year 1902Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Class, Society: War, Society: ColonialismTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Victorian Period, Military / War, Class, History: African , History: European, Psychology, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1832Genre Poem, FictionTags Politics / Government, History: European, Romanticism / Romantic Period

Publication year -1Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Life/Time: Midlife, Relationships: TeamsTags Ancient Greece, Politics / Government, Military / War, History: European

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, British Literature, Elizabethan Era, History: European

Publication year 2023Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Teams, Society: Economics, Society: Globalization, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Science & TechnologyTags History: European, History: World, Crime / Legal, Technology, WWI / World War I

Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Italian Literature, History: European

The year is 1327. William of Baskerville, a Franciscan friar, and Adso of Melk, a young novice travelling under his protection, arrive at a wealthy Benedictine abbey somewhere in Italy on an important secret mission. A group of Franciscans has come under fire from Pope John XXII, who suspects them of heresy. The Holy Roman Emperor, Louis IV, has aligned himself with the Franciscans, and the abbey has been chosen as a neutral location for... Read The Name of the Rose Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags History: U.S., Race / Racism, Social Justice, Politics / Government, History: European, Colonial America

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (First Mariners Books edition 2017) by Andrés Reséndez, a Mexican historian working at the University of California Davis, won the 2017 Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. In this book, Reséndez dispels the myth that only African slaves faced enslavement in the Americas. He focuses on Indigenous slaves in the Caribbean, central and northern Mexico, and the American Southwest... Read The Other Slavery Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, History: European, WWII / World War II

Publication year -1Genre Play, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Relationships: Fathers, Society: War, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Win & LoseTags Play: Tragedy, Ancient Greece, Play: Historical, Military / War, History: European, Politics / Government

Written and first performed in 472 BC, the ancient Greek tragedy The Persians by Aeschylus is the oldest extant example of the genre. Known as the father of Greek tragedy, Aeschylus was also a veteran of the Greco-Persian wars, on which The Persians is based. Because it depicts recent events, The Persians stands out from other plays of the genre, which for the most part focus on the distant past or mythological heroes. The approach was a... Read The Persians Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Identity: Masculinity, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Medieval Literature / Middle Ages, Narrative / Epic Poem, Action / Adventure, History: European, Military / War

The Song of the Cid, also known as El Cantar de mio Cid, is a Spanish epic written in verse by an unknown author. The only surviving medieval Spanish epic, it is widely considered Spain’s national folktale, telling of fictionalized events at the formation of medieval Spain in the 11th century. It is based on the true story of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a Castilian knight who in reality fought for both Christian and Muslim... Read The Poem of the Cid Summary


Publication year 1532Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: European, Politics / Government, Philosophy, Class, Italian Literature, Renaissance

The Prince is a 16th-century political treatise of the Renaissance period written by Italian diplomat and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. The work, which was likely distributed for years prior to its official publication in 1532, is one of the most influential works of political philosophy in human history. Machiavelli wrote The Prince as a guide for new and future rulers, instructing them on how to seize and hold onto power, frequently citing specific examples from history... Read The Prince Summary


Publication year 1998Genre Biography, NonfictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Identity: LanguageTags History: European, Mental Illness, Arts / Culture, Education, Age of Enlightenment

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary is a 1998 work of nonfiction by British-American journalist Simon Winchester. Originally titled The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness, and the Love of Words upon its release in the United Kingdom, the book follows the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the connection that developed between James Murray, the... Read The Professor And The Madman Summary


Publication year 1791Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Society: Class, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags Philosophy, Politics / Government, History: U.S., History: European

Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791) is one of the 18th-century’s most influential political treatises. It offers a spirited defense of the ongoing French Revolution and calls for dramatic reforms in Britain. Paine wrote Rights of Man as a direct response to Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), a conservative critique that professes skepticism and even horror at the course of events in France since the Revolution began in 1789. Rights of... Read The Rights of Man Summary


Publication year 1960Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Society: War, Society: Politics & GovernmentTags WWII / World War II, Holocaust, History: European, Politics / Government, Race / Racism, Grief / Death, History: World, Journalism, Military / War, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1937Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Class, Society: CommunityTags Social Justice, Class, History: European, British Literature

The Road to Wigan Pier is a 1937 nonfiction book by George Orwell. The book describes Orwell’s firsthand experiences of life in Great Britain’s working-class communities in the early 20th century and advocates for the adoption of socialism. SummaryThe Road to Wigan Pier begins in a small lodging house in Northern England. The impoverished, rundown house rents crowded rooms to people who work in the nearby mines. The landlord, Mr. Brooker, was once a miner... Read The Road to Wigan Pier Summary


Publication year 1919Genre Poem, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Lyric Poem, History: World, History: European, WWI / World War I

“The Second Coming” is an allegorical poem that W. B. Yeats penned in 1919 and published in The Dial in 1920. The poem describes a declining, violent present and an impending apocalyptic future, marked by the approach of a sphinxlike monster. The poem is often considered an allegory for the fraught times Yeats was living in—namely, the end of World War I, the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic, and the beginning of the Irish... Read The Second Coming Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, History: European

The Song of Achilles, author Madeline Mill