March 15, 2013
The perfect wave. Even the most water-phobic know this is what motivates a surfer. But many may not know, there is a calculable science behind the phrase.
Experienced surfers know that the art of the sport has a lot to do with the science of the ocean. Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater, for example, told the New York Times he checks no fewer than five different sites for reports on wind, swell and weather before he heads out. He knows that his home state of Florida has a shallow and long continental shelf, helping create small, slow waves that are perfect for beginners. He says that, “millions of years ago, lava poured out and just happened to form a perfect-shaped bottom,” producing Hawaii’s legendary Pipeline.
Now filmmaker Stephen Low joins Slater as the surfer takes on Tahiti’s most extreme surf break, Teahupo’o, in the new 3-D film, The Ultimate Wave Tahiti, debuting March 15 at the Natural History Museum’s IMAX theater. Accompanied by Tahitian waterman Raimana Van Bastolaer, Slater uses his intimate knowledge of the world’s waves to explain what makes Teahupo’o so special.
One of the most accomplished athletes in the world, Slater got his first surfboard when he was just eight. He still lives in Cocoa Beach, where he grew up going to the ocean with his parents. But Slater is more than just an athlete, he’s been actively involved in the design of his own surfboards. “Some waves are flatter in the curve of the face,” Slater told Smithsonian contributor Owen Edwards, “and provide less speed. Others are bigger, faster and hollower [on the face]. You have to adjust the shape of the board accordingly. For curvier waves, a curved board works best.”
In 2011, Slater donated the board he used at the April 2010 Rip Curl Tournament in Australia to the American History Museum. It was designed specifically for the competition site at Bells Beach by Santa Barbara company Channel Islands Surfboards. Needless to say, he won.
“No two waves are the same,” says Low. “Yet, all waves share common traits. . . to many the wave at Teahupo’o is indeed the ‘ultimate wave.’”
The film combines Slater’s years of experience and expertise with information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a film that is at once educational and engaging.
March 8, 2013
In a relatively short time, global emissions of carbon dioxide increased massively. Through the greenhouse effect, they raised temperatures around the planet by an average of 7 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit; they also changed the chemistry of the oceans, triggering a surge in acidity that may have led to mass extinctions among marine life. Overall, during this era of rapid change, global sea levels may have risen by as much as 65 feet.
Reading this, you could be forgiven if you assume we’re talking about a scenario related to the present-day climate crisis. But the previous paragraph actually refers to a 20,000-year-long period of warming that occurred 55 million years ago, an event scientists call the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (or PETM for short). Scott Wing, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum who has studied the PETM for more than 20 years, says, “If all this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially what we’re doing right now.”
As we embark on an unprecedented experiment with the Earth’s atmosphere and climate, the PETM is suddenly a hot topic among scientists in many disparate fields. “It’s an event that a lot of people are interested in, because it is the best example we have of a really sudden global warming connected to a large release of carbon,” Wing says.
Although scientists still don’t fully understand what triggered the PETM, it is clear that more and more carbon was injected into both the atmosphere and the oceans, initiating the climate change. This carbon may have been supplied by volcanic activity, the spontaneous combustion of peat or even the impact of a particularly carbon-rich comet. Additionally, the initial warming likely led to a release of methane gas from the seafloor, acting as a positive feedback that led to even more climate change. It’s also clear that all this warming wreaked havoc on the world’s ecosystems, leading to extinctions and altering the ranges of numerous plant and animal species.
There is, of course, one key difference: During this previous episode, all that warming took several thousand years. This time, carbon emissions are rising ten times faster than during the PETM, with the warming happening in a century—the geologic equivalent of a blink of an eye.
Scott Wing researches the PETM by digging for ancient plant remains in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin. Over several decades of work, he has constructed a general picture of what types of plants thrived before, during and after the warming period, attempting to identify the sorts of trends in plant life we can expect as we change the climate going forward.
“During the warm period, essentially none of the plants that had lived in the area previously survived—their local populations were driven extinct,” Wing says. The area had been dominated by ancestors of the types of plants that live in temperate deciduous forests today, such as dogwood, sycamore and redwood trees.
But as the region heated up, these were replaced by a variety of plants related to the present-day bean family, most commonly found in warmer, drier areas such as southern Mexico or Costa Rica. “We believe that what happened is the dispersal into this region of plants that were living somewhere else, probably much farther south,” says Wing. His team has also uncovered evidence that the warmer climate led to a greater level of insect pest damage on the plants that did survive the PETM.
His research has, however, turned up one trend from the PETM that could be a reason to hope ecosystems can someday rebound from climate change. After roughly 200,000 years, long after the PETM subsided and temperatures returned to normal, many of the temperate plants that had lived in the Bighorn Basin finally returned.
“One possible explanation,” Wing says, “is that there were cooler climates in the nearby mountains that served as refuges for these species.” In that scenario—one that he and his research team plan to more closely investigate as they continue to excavate and piece together the fossil record—these types of plants would have waited out the PETM in the relatively cold highlands, then returned to recolonize the basin afterward.
If our climate continues to change as rapidly as it has over the past few decades, though, such a scenario seems less likely—immobile organisms such as plants need hundreds of years to gradually migrate from one area to another. Thus, one key aspect of preserving our planet’s ecosystems, in addition to limiting climate change as much as possible, is slowing it down as much as we can.
February 15, 2013
Today, at around 9:20 a.m. local time in Chelyabinsk, Russia, a massive 11-ton meteor burned up in the sky, triggering a sonic boom that damaged buildings and shattered windows in six cities and reportedly injured hundreds. Eyewitnesses say the meteor’s shockingly bright flash as it burned up (10 seconds into the Russia Today video above) was briefly brighter than the morning sun.
That this event happened today—the same day a 147-foot wide asteroid will whiz extremely close to the Earth at 2:26 p.m. EST—seems to be a coincidence of astronomical proportions, as experts say the two events are entirely unrelated. But unlike the asteroid, which will cause no physical damage, the meteor’s sonic boom as it entered the atmosphere, fractured roughly 18 to 32 miles above the ground and subsequently rained fragments over the region, led to as many as 900 injuries, 31 hospitalizations and widespread damage including the collapse of a rooftop at a zinc factory .
So, what caused this massive explosion? “For one, meteors move extremely fast—faster than the speed of sound—so there’s a ton of friction being generated as it comes through the atmosphere,” says Cari Corrigan, a geologist with the Natural History Museum who specializes in meteors. “If there are any weaknesses in it already, or if there is ice that melts and leaves empty fractures—like freezing and thawing in a pothole—it could easily explode.”
To get a knotty bit of nomenclature out of the way, meteor refers to a variety of pieces of debris—made up of either rock, metal, or a mix of the two—that enter the atmosphere from outer space. Before doing so, they’re called meteoroids. Most burn up entirely during their descent, but if any intact fragments do make it to the ground, they’re called meteorites. Meteors are also called “shooting stars” because of the heat and light produced when they slam into the still atmosphere at supersonic speeds—today’s meteor was estimated to be traveling faster than 33,000 m.p.h.
The distinction between this meteor and the asteroid that will fly past us later today, according to Corrigan, is a matter of size and origin. “Asteroids are generally bigger, and they typically come from the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter,” she says. The size difference also explains why we were able to predict the arrival of the asteroid nearly a year ago, but this meteor caught us by surprise: It’s impossible to spot the smaller meteoroids up in space with our telescopes.
Meteors like the one that fell today aren’t exceedingly rare, but for one to cause this much damage is almost unheard of. “There are events like this in recorded history, but this is likely the first time it’s happened over such a populated area and this level of destruction has been documented,” Corrigan says. Notable meteors in recorded history include the Tunguska event (a 1908 explosion over a remote area in Russia that knocked down more than 80 million trees covering an area of some 830-square miles), the Benld meteorite (a small object that landed in Illinois in 1938 that punctured the roof of a car) and the Carancas impact (a 2007 meteorite that crashed in a Peruvian village and may have caused groundwater contamination).
Much larger meteorites have fallen in prehistory and been discovered much later, including the Willamette Meteorite, a 32,000-pound hunk of iron that fell millennia ago and was transported to Oregon during the last ice age. The largest meteorite ever discovered in North America, it is now part of the collections of the Natural History Museum.
Early reports suggest that remnants of the meteor have fallen into a reservoir near the town of Chebarkul; testing on these meteorite fragments could provide more information on the object’s composition and origin. “It might be an ordinary chondrite—which is what 90 percent of the meteorites that we have are made of—or it could be something more rare,” Corrigan says.
While chondrites are made mostly of stone and result from the relatively recent breakup of asteroids, iron meteorites originate from the cores of more ancient asteroids, and even rarer types come from debris broken off from the moon or Mars. ”Every meteorite that we get is another piece of the puzzle,” says Corrigan. “They’re clues towards how the solar system and Earth were formed.”
December 11, 2012
Last week’s holiday gift guide had a little something for everyone: science lover, wordsmiths, artsy types and history buffs. But this week, we’re bringing you the unabridged list of history picks, each of which were recommended by researchers, curators and staff at the Institution so they’ve got the smarty stamp of approval.
So stop sneezing over perfume samples and sorting through silk ties, this list of more than 30 titles, from hip-hop history for newcomers to the Civil War canon, is all you’ll need this holiday season.
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer delivers a dramatic account of one of the most famed but misunderstood women of all time. The New York Times called it “a cinematic portrait of a historical figure far more complex and compelling than any fictional creation, and a wide, panning, panoramic picture of her world.” (Recommended by Laurel Fritzsch, project assistant at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
The Lost World of James Smithson: Science, Revolution, and the Birth of the Smithsonian by Heather Ewing. Learn more about this British chemist and the Institution’s founder, who left his fortunes to a country he’d never even set foot in, all in the name of science and knowledge. (Recommended by Robyn Einhorn, project assistant for armed forces history at the American History Museum)
Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry’s Greatest Generation by Daisy Hay. In addition to the celebrated figures of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and John Keats, Hay’s book also weaves in mistresses, journalists and in-laws for a riveting tale of personal drama. (Recommended by Laurel Fritzsch, project assistant at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin. “Olmsted did so many different things in life, that it’s like reading a history of the country to read about him,” says the Institution’s Amy Karazsia. Not just the landscape architect behind everything from Central Park to Stanford University, Olmsted was also an outspoken abolitionist, whose social values informed his design. (Recommended by Amy Karazsia, director of giving at the American History Museum)
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature by Philip Nel. Not as famous as their mentee Maurice Sendak, Johnson and Krauss lived just as colorful a life creating children’s classic, including Harold and the Purple Crayon, that endure even today. (Recommended by Peggy Kidwell, curator of medicine and science at the American History Museum)
Big Chief Elizabeth: The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America by Giles Milton. A look at some of the first settlers, including a Native American who had been taken captive, traveled to England and then returned to America as Lord and Governor before disappearing. Milton unravels the mystery of what happened to those early settlers. (Recommended by Carol Slatick, museum specialist at the American History Museum)
The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilization, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written profusely on early American history here turns his eye to the people already on North America’s shores when the British arrived and their interactions with the colonists. (Recommended by Rayna Green, curator of home and community life at the American History Museum)
Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different by Gordon S. Wood. For those who think they have the complete picture of the founding fathers, allow Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon S. Wood to fill in the details and explain what made each unique. (Recommended by Lee Woodman, senior advisor for the office of the director at the American History Museum)
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by Gordon S. Wood. And for those who like their Pulitzer Prize winners to take a broader look, Wood’s Empire of Liberty examines the larger context in which those greats from his Revolutionary Characters worked. (Recommended by Timothy Winkle, curator of home and community life at the American History Museum)
Six Frigates: The epic history of the founding of the US Navy, by Ian W. Toll. Our Smithsonian recommender wrote that this book is a, “real page-turner about the politics surrounding the creation of a navy, the shipbuilding process, the Navy culture of the time, characteristics of each ship and the characters who served on them,” from the War of 1812, the Mediterranean naval actions and more. (Recommended by Brett Mcnish, supervisory horticulturalist at Smithsonian Gardens)
The Burning of Washington: The British Invasion of 1814 by Anthony Pitch. The story of how Dolly Madison rescued George Washington’s portrait from the White House when it was engulfed in flames during the British attack is by now common classroom stuff. But Pitch breathes new life into the now quaint tale, delivering a gripping account of the actions as they unfolded. (Recommended by Cathy Keen, archives curator at the American History Museum)
What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War by Chandra Manning. We remember the Civil War through the words of famous men, but Manning returns the struggle’s voice to those who fought, including both black and white soldiers as she pulls from journals, letters and regimental newspapers. (Recommended by Barbara Clark Smith, curator of political history at the American History Museum)
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner. Though we learn more about the man every year, Abraham Lincoln’s true relationship to the issue of slavery remains buried somewhere between pragmatism and indignation. This account from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Foner brings out the nuance of the full conversation, not shying away from the difficult and sometimes contradictory parts. (Recommended by Arthur Molella, director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. The best-selling book just released in June details the attempted assassination of President Garfield in 1881. Full of intrigue, the book found fans in the Smithsonian partly because the apparatus Alexander Graham Bell used to find the bullet which wounded the President is actually in the collections. (Recommended by Roger Sherman, curator of medicine and science for the American History Museum)
Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation by Deborah Davis. Though enslaved African Americans built the White House, none had ever dined there until Booker T. Washington was invited to by President Roosevelt. The incredibly controversial dinner engulfed the country in outrage but Davis places it within a larger story, uniting the biographies of two very different men. (Recommended by Joann Stevens, program director of Jazz Appreciation Month at the American History Museum)
Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy by Bruce Watson. Racism consumed the entire nation, but the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chose Mississippi as one of the worst offenders. A modest army of hundreds of students and activists went to the state to man voter registration drives and fill the schools with teachers. Though the summer produced change, it also witnessed the murder of three young men whose deaths would not be solved until years later. (Recommended by Christopher Wilson, program director of African American culture at the American History Museum)
The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro. This four-volume monolith by the Pulitzer Prize winning Robert Caro runs more than 3,000 pages and yet it captured the adoration of nearly every reviewer for its painstakingly thorough and engaging biography of a complicated man and era. (Recommended by Rayna Green, curator of home and community life at the American History Museum)
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson. As Alex Dencker says, this is, “not a typical Civil War book.” McPherson deftly handles the Civil War while also creating a portrait of what made America unique, from its infrastructure, to its agriculture to its populations, to set the stage in a new way. (Recommended by Alex Dencker, horticulturalist at Smithsonian Gardens)
City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist. July 1919 proved particularly eventful in Chicago, with a race riot, the Goodyear blimp disaster and a dramatic police hunt for a missing girl. Krist looks beyond the buzz of headlines to capture a city in transformation. (Recommended by Bonnie Campbell Lilienfeld, supervisor curator of home and community life at the American History Museum)
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez. A revised and updated edition of a comprehensive work from columnist Juan Gonzalez provides a contemporary look at the long history of a diverse group whose national profile continues to rise. (Recommended by Magdalena Mieri, program director in Latino history and culture at the American History Museum)
The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich. Valeska Hilbig, from the American History Museum, loved the way this book, “as compelling as any novel,” also provided “an accurate, intimate history of new women journalists invading the male journalistic world of the 1970s” to reveal how women’s struggle for recognition in the workplace may just be beginning. (Recommended by Valeska Hilbig, public affairs specialist at the American History Museum)
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. If you happen to, like Bill Bryson, live in a 19th century English rectory, you might assume your home is full of history. But Bryson shows us, in addition to touring his own home, that these private and often ignored spaces hold the story of human advancement. (Recommended by Laurel Fritzsch, project assistant at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
Poisons of the Past: Molds, Epidemics, and History by Mary Kilbourne Matossian. Could food poisoning have been at the heart of some of Europe’s strangest moments in history? That’s what Matossian argues in her look at how everything from food preparation to climate may have shaped a region’s history. (Recommended by Carol Slatick, museum specialist at the American History Museum)
Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor. An easy read that looks at the often dark and very long history of biological warfare, using everything from Greek mythology to evidence from archeological dig sties. (Recommended by Carol Slatick, museum specialist at the American History Museum)
The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States by Mark Fiege. In a sweeping history, Fiege persuasively argues that no moment in time can be separated from its environment, brining together natural and social history. (Recommended by Jeffrey Stine, supervisory curator of medicine and science at the American History Museum)
Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick. Our insider, Brett McNish, described the text and its connection to the institution saying it was, “a brilliant read about the U.S. Exploring Expedition (a.k.a. Wilkes Expedition) and what would become the basis of the Smithsonian’s collection,” noting that, “Smithsonian Gardens has descendants of some of the plants Wilkes brought back in our Orchid Collection and garden areas.” (Recommended by Brett McNish, supervisory horticulturalist of grounds management)
The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. 1854 London was both a thriving young metropolis and the perfect breeding ground for a deadly cholera outbreak. Johnson tells the story not just of the outbreak, but how the outbreak influenced that era’s fledgling cities and scientific worldview. (Recommended by Judy Chelnick, curator of medicine and science at the American History Museum)
The Arcanum The Extraordinary True Story By Janet Gleeson. The search for an elixir has long obsessed man, but in the early 18th century, Europeans were hard at work on another mystery: how exactly the East made its famed and envied porcelain. Gleeson tells the diverting tale of that fevered search with flourish. (Recommended by Robyn Einhorn, project assistant for armed forces history at the American History Museum)
The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead by Ann Fabian. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the story of skull collecting in a misguided effort to confirm racist stereotypes of the 1800s is a dark, even ghoulish tale. Fabian takes one noted naturalist, Samuel George Morton, who collected hundreds of skulls over his lifetime as she unpacks a society’s cranial obsession. (Recommended by Barbara Clark Smith, curator of political history at the American History Museum)
The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum. For years, poisons had been the preferred weapon of the country’s underworld. All that changed, however, in 1918 when Charles Norris was named New York City’s chief medical examiner and made it his mission to apply science to his work. (Recommended by Laurel Fritzsch, project assistant at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ by Mark Katz. Told from the point of the view of the very people at the center of the genre’s creation, Katz’s history of hip-hop relies on the figure of the DJ to tell its story and reveal the true innovation of the craft that began in the Bronx. (Recommended by Laurel Fritzsch, project assistant at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation)
Underground Dance Masters: Final History of a Forgotten Era by Thomas Guzmán Sánchez. According to the Institution’s Marvette Perez, the text “captures the essence of hip-hop culture in California, not only from a great student of hip hop and popular culture, but one who was part of the movement back in the day, a great account.” Looking at the break dance movement that predated hip-hop’s origins, Sánchez details what made California’s scene so unique. (Recommended by Marvette Perez, curator of culture and the arts at the American History Museum)
Read more articles about the holidays with our Smithsonian Holiday Guide here
December 5, 2012
The curators and researchers spend a lot of time reading, everything from classic novels to the latest exhibition catalog. We asked some of them to lend us their reading lists to see which titles rose to the top and why.
For the Art Connoisseurs:
Leslie Umberger, from the American Art Museum, recommends:
“James Castle: Show and Store, an exhibition catalogue produced by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia in 2011 brilliantly navigates the complex depths of Idaho artist James Castle (1899-1977). Fresh, insightful, and deeply moving, the images and essays explore a truly, astonishing, poetic and enigmatic body of work–drawings of soot, paper constructions, and carefully rendered books and letters–entirely in its own terms. Perfectly magical.”
Lisa Hostetler, from the American Art Museum, recommends:
“Photography Changes Everything, edited by Marvin Heiferman (Aperture/Smithsonian Institution, 2012). It’s an interesting look at the wide variety of ways that photographs are used and how photography itself has affected contemporary culture. Two exhibition catalogues that I’ve been looking forward to reading are Cindy Sherman (MoMA, 2012) and Rineke Dijkstra (Guggenheim, 2012). Sherman and Dijkstra are two of today’s most compelling artists, and these retrospectives are important compendia of their careers.”
Maya Foo, from the Freer and Sackler, recommends:
“Rome by Robert Hughes. In college, I studied art history in Rome and I have wanted to return to Italy ever since. Robert Hughes’ Rome is a readable and rich history of the city told through art, architecture, literature and the author’s personal narrative.”
For the Wordsmiths:
David Ward, from the National Portrait Gallery, recommends:
“What with the opening of Poetic Likeness at the museum this fall and co-editing Lines in Long Array: A Civil War Commemoration, which includes 12 newly commissioned poems, my mind has been mostly on poetry the last year or so. I have been especially taken by the following titles: First, work by two of the great “voices” in modern American poetry, one still vital even at 85, John Ashbery, and the other sadly gone, Adrienne Rich, who passed away earlier this year after an amazingly powerful career. Adrienne Rich, Later Poems: Selected and New, 1971-2012 (WW Norton, 2012). John Ashbery, Quick Question: New Poems (Ecco, 2012).
The writer Eavan Boland is not only a first-rate poet but she is continually interesting on the subject of writing, literary history and social roles. Her latest book explores the sense of doubleness that she navigates in her career: A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet.
Two prize-winning books by two of America’s best poets are also of note: Jorie Graham’s Place (Ecco, 2012) and Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars (Greywolf, 2011), which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2012.
Also, a pitch for a book that was published a couple of years ago that I don’t think got as much attention as it should have, from Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press, 2009), which came out in paperback in 2012. It provides a really valuable, entertaining and incisive view of 500 years of American writing.”
For the Scientists:
John Grant, from the National Air and Space Museum, recommends:
Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity and the Exploration of the Red Planet by Steve Squyres is good for adults. Squyres writes about his work as the principal investigator on both the Spirit and Opportunity missions to Mars in 2004. A good read for people following the more recent Mars developments with the Curiosity mission.
And for the younger set: Fly Me to Mars by Catherine Weitz is a terrific kids book.
For the History Buffs:
Cory Bernat, co-curator of FOOD: Transforming the American Table at American History, recommends:
Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America by Harvey Levestein, which covers America’s eating habits from the 1930s to present day.
John Edward Hasse, at the American History Museum, likes:
Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood and How It Changed America, by John M. Barry, because it’s a “fascinating story told so compellingly that it reads almost like a novel.”
Nancy Bercaw, of the American History Museum, suggests:
Tiya Miles’ Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, first published in 2006, but an interesting read for readers looking for something different in the Civil War sesquicentennial.