If you haven’t had a chance yet, be sure to see Frost/Nixon, the film recreation of British talk show host David Frost‘s historic interviews with former President Richard M. Nixon in 1977.  The first of these interviews, in which Watergate was discussed, is still considered the most watched news interview in television history.  The movie, directed by Ron Howard, is an adaptation of a play written by Peter Morgan, first performed in London in 2006.  

Actor Frank Langella‘s portrayal of Nixon is dead-on, evincing both the former president’s political acumen as well as his neuroses.  Michael Sheen‘s performance as the glib, jet-setting Frost is equally convincing.  No doubt the film will help to introduce yet another, younger generation to Watergate, Nixon and all the political pathos of that era.

If you’d like to read more about Richard Nixon, we’ve probably got a book or two which you’ll enjoy.  Our more recent titles include:  Nixonland:  The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein; Richard Nixon:  A Life in Full by Conrad Black; Very Strange Bedfellows:  The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew by Jules Witcover; Nixon and Mao:  The Week That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan; The First Modern Campaign:  Kennedy-Nixon and the Election of 1960 by Gary A. Donaldson; Richard M. Nixon by Elizabeth Drew; President Nixon:  Alone in the White House by Richard Reeves; and No Peace, No Honor:  Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam by Larry Berman.

We also have The Conviction of Richard Nixon:  The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews by James Reston, Jr.  Reston, who was a Morehead scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill and taught creative writing there during the 1970s, was a consultant to Frost during the interviews. 

And of course, you can also search Facts on File for articles about the original Frost-Nixon interviews.

Western Forests and Global Warming

This MSNBC article discusses alarming increases in the death rates of old-growth forests, which have more than doubled in parts of the western United States in the last two decades.  Scientists have found a correlation between accelerating tree mortality rates and rising temperatures and suspect global warming may be the culprit.

There are of course many sides to the global warming debate — ecological, political, climatological, and so on — and Greensboro Public Library has lots of books on the topic from many points of view.  Try some of these recent titles:   An Appeal to Reason:  A Cool Look at Global Warming by Nigel Lawson; Censoring Science:  Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming by Mark Bowen; Apollo’s Fire:  Igniting America’s Clean-energy Economy by Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks; Earth, the Sequel:  The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn; Earth Under Fire:  How Global Warming is Changing the World by Gary Braasch; Field Notes from a Catastrophe:  Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert; Fixing Climate:  What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat–and How to Counter It by Wallace S. Broecker and Robert Kunzig; Fight Global Warming Now:  The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community by Bill McKibben and the Step It Up Team, Phil Aroneanu … [et al.]; Global Warming by Debra A. Miller; The Hot Topic:  What We Can Do About Global Warming Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King; Global Warming:  The Rising Storm (DVD); A Global Warning? (DVD); Global Warming:  The Signs and the Science (DVD); Global Warning:  Our Earth’s Last Chance for Change by Paul Brown; and The Global Warming Survival Handbook:  77 Essential Skills to Stop Climate Change–or Live Through It by David de Rothschild

Please keep in mind that environmentalism is a special focus of our Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library; the balance of our holdings on global warming are located there.  If you have a chance, drop by and browse their collection sometime.

As always, Facts on File and NC Live are good resources for articles on topics like global warming.

Inauguration Update

In just a brief update to our Jan. 15th post, President-elect Barack Obama today is whistle-stopping from Philadelphia to Washington, following the same train route Lincoln did to his inaugural in 1861.  See also our post of Nov. 20th, which in part explores the Lincoln-Obama comparison.

Life on Mars?

Scientists using spectrometers on earth-bound telescopes announced Tuesday that they have discovered methane in the atmosphere of Mars, a possible indicator of some sort of biological activity.  This, coupled with the Phoenix Mars Lander’s recent confirmation of frozen water on the planet, continues to spark interest in the Red Planet as a current or former host to extraterrestrial life.

If you’re interested in checking out some of Greensboro Public Library’s books on either the topics of life on Mars or elsewhere in our solar system or universe, try some of these:  The Rock from Mars:  A Detective Story on Two Planets by Kathy Sawyer; Cosmic Jackpot:  Why Our Universe is Just Right for Life by Paul Davies; Life as We Do Not Know It:  The NASA Search For (and Synthesis of) Alien Life by Peter Ward; Faint Echoes, Distant Stars:  The Science and Politics of Finding Life Beyond Earth by Ben Bova; Are We Alone?:  Scientists Search for Life in Space (juvenile) by Gloria Skurzynski; Extraterrestrial Life (juvenile) by Don Nardo; Destination Mars by Alain Dupas; Looking for Life in the Universe: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (juvenile) by Ellen Jackson; XTL: Extraterrestrial Life and How to Find It by Simon Goodwin with John Gribbin; Life Beyond Earth by Timothy Ferris; Leap of Faith:  An Astronaut’s Journey into the Unknown by Gordon Cooper, with Bruce Henderson; Other Worlds:  The Search for Life in the Universe by Michael D. Lemonick; Probability 1:  Why There Must Be Intelligent Life in the Universe by Amir D. Aczel; The Hunt for Life on Mars by Donald Goldsmith; Life on Mars (juvenile) by David Getz; Our Place in the Cosmos:  The Unfinished Revolution by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe; and The Case for Mars:  The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must by Robert Zubrin with Richard Wagner.

For late breaking news relating to space exploration, a colleague of mine, Mr. Robbie Owens, recommends  Of course, you can also follow recent news on this topic in the library’s database, Facts on File, as well as the NC Live network of databases.

Death of Andrew Wyeth

The American realist painter Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917), perhaps best known for “Christina’s World,” has died at 91, MSNBC reports

The library has a number of books on Wyeth.  If you’re interested, try some of these:  Unknown Terrain:  The Landscapes of Andrew Wyeth by Beth Venn and Adam D. Weinberg; Wyeth People:  A Portrait of Andrew Wyeth as Seen by His Friends and Neighbors by Gene Logsdon; The Art of Andrew Wyeth by Wanda M. Corn; Andrew Wyeth:  Dry Brush and Pencil Drawings, a loan exhibition organized by the Fogg Art Museum 1963; Andrew Wyeth:  Temperas, Watercolors, Dry Brush, Drawings, 1938 into 1966, an exhibition; Christina’s World:  Paintings and Pre-studies of Andrew Wyeth, text by Betsy James Wyeth; Andrew Wyeth:  The Helga Pictures, text by John Wilmerding; Andrew Wyeth:  Close Friends, introduction by Betsy James Wyeth; and In the Footsteps of the Artist:  Thoreau and the World of Andrew Wyeth, photographers, James A. Warner and Margaret J. White.

Also, Camio, a database in NC Live, includes some images of Wyeth’s work, as well as that of many other artists.

Obama Inauguration

The inauguration of our 44th president, Mr. Barack Obama (and, of course, the first African American to hold that office), is only a few days away!  We can anticipate wall-to-wall news coverage, and one thing you can bet all the media will spend a lot of time on is simply trying to figure out just how many people are in attendence at this historic event.   

As it turns out, that’s pretty hard to do.  And here’s an interesting MSNBC article on the difficulty in making accurate crowd estimates.  Who knows, it’s possible that several million people may be in Washington D.C. on Tuesday!  

Perhaps one of the best known presidential inaugurations is John F. Kennedy’s, which took place in 1960.  Greensboro Public Library just happens to have a new book about that event called Ask Not:  The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech that Changed America by Thurston Clarke.  Another important inaugural was Lincoln’s second in 1864.  Lincoln’s Greatest Speech:  The Second Inaugural by Ronald C. White Jr. describes that event.  And this book, Inaugural Cavalcade, though a bit dated, nonetheless includes accounts of all the presidential inaugurations up to Nixon’s in 1968.  Also, you’ll find lots of books on the presidents in the 973s and our biography section.    

Remember, if you like, you can follow breaking news on the Obama inauguration in Facts on File.  Just do a keyword search using terms like “inauguration” or “Obama,” then click on the tab that says “Breaking News-Reuters.”

Lastly, but certainly not least, Greensboro Public Library will have a live broadcast of the ceremonies on the big screen in the Nussbaum Room, beginning at 11 AM, Tuesday, January 21st.  Any and all are invited to attend.

War Between Hamas & Israel

Israel and Hamas have now been fighting more than two weeks and there’s little sign of let-up in the conflict.  The Israelis continue pounding targets in Gaza City from the air, augmented now by an invasion of ground forces, while Hamas shows little sign of stopping its rocket attacks.  Check out this article from MSNBC for the latest.

If you’re interested in reading more about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Greensboro Public Library has plenty of recent books.  Try some of these titles:  Hamas:  A History from Within by Azzam Tamimi; Hamas:  Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad by Matthew Levitt; Hamas vs. Fatah:  The Struggle for Palestine by Jonathan Schanzer;  Inside Hamas:  The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement by Zaki Chehab; a PBS Frontline documentary also called Inside Hamas (DVD); Palestine Inside Out:  An Everyday Occupation by Saree Makdisi; The Much Too Promised Land:  America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace by Aaron David Miller; 1948:  A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris; Israel and Palestine:  Peace Plans and Proposals from Oslo to Disengagement by Galia Golan; Six Days in June:  The War that Redefined the Middle East (DVD); and Victory for Us is to See You Suffer:  In the West Bank with the Palestinians and the Israelis by Philip C. Winslow.

Please remember, if you’re interested in the journalistic perspective on the conflict you can find lots of articles in our NC Live databases.  And Facts on File is also a great source; for example, for breaking news on the war from Facts on File, just do a relevant keyword search using a term like “Gaza,” then click on the tab that says “Breaking News-Reuters.”         


Roman Battlefield Discovered in Germany

Check out this link for a neat article about a battlefield recently discovered in Lower Saxony, about 50 miles from Hannover, Germany, where German tribemen clashed with Roman legions, ca. the 3rd century AD.  

The late discoveries in Lower Saxony brought to mind a famous battle fought between Roman legions and Germans in the same general area about 9 AD.  This was the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in which Arminius, “chief of the Cherusci, a Teutonic tribe inhabiting parts of what are now the states of Brunswick and Hannover, Germany,” defeated (actually, completely annihilated) three Roman legions led by Publius Quintilius Varus. 

The above quote describing Arminius is from Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, one of our elibrary resources and an excellent resource for historical topics like this.       

One of the reasons why this newly discovered battlefield is so important is because scholars had previously thought Arminius’ defeat of Varus had permanently established the northeastern boundary of  the Roman Empire as the Rhine River.  Now they have evidence that the Romans were still active east of the Rhine as much as 250 years after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

You can read more about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in this excellent article from Smithsonian Magazine.  And Tacitus’ Annals include much material about Arminius. 

Among the relics found at the newly located battlefield in Lower Saxony have been coins from the reign of the Roman emperor Commodus — whom movie fans will remember well from the film Gladiator

In an earlier post I mentioned another recent discovery, that of “the tomb of a Roman general named Marcus Nonius Macrinus, upon whom Russell Crowe’s character in the film Gladiator is very loosely based.”  This same post also includes a list of many of our more recent acquisitions/titles on archaeology.

Libraries Are Getting Busy (As If They Weren’t Already!)

Here’s a News and Record article about how busy the libraries in Greensboro and Rockingham County are getting during these tough economic times.  It includes an interview with Greensboro Public Library Director, Ms. Sandy Neerman. 

Increased library traffic seems to be a national phenomenon.  Lest you think otherwise, check out these reports and articles on libraries in Palm Beach County, Florida; Los Angeles County, California; Palos Verdes Library District, California; Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Northeast Ohio; Ramsey and Washington Counties, Minnesota; and Madison, Wisconsin

Queens Library (New York City) boasts the largest circulation of any library system in the country; and in August they reported once again another record for circulation during fiscal year 2007-08.   

And here’s an Odum Library blog (Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia) with an MSNBC video clip about the role of libraries during the downturn.

Though this is anecdotal, I think much of the increased traffic must come from job hunters.  I know every day I help people with tasks such as searching for employment and writing resumes. 

Check out this recent post for some of the library’s resources for job hunters.

Colds & Flu Season

Here‘s an interesting article from Reuters about genetic research on the great influenza outbreak of 1918.  And here’s yet another from MSNBC on what really works when it comes to fighting the common cold.

Yes, it’s that time again.  A cold has already made the rounds through the Information Services workroom here at Central Library, and no doubt there’s been plenty of coughing and sneezing in workplaces, schools, homes, etc., all over town.

As we all know too well, there’s still no cure for the common cold.  But the library does have a few books which can help you manage one.  Try, for example, The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu:  Guerilla Tactics to Keep Yourself Healthy at Home, at Work, and in the World by Allison Janse with Charles Gerba or The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu by Neil Schachter.     

Also, check out some of our medical and health links in the NC Live network of databases — there’s literally tons of good stuff here.  Databases for information on colds and the flu include:  Go Ask Alice, Healthfinder, HealthLink Plus,  Medline Plus, and the Merck Manual Home Edition.  You can keyword search any of these for information on colds, influenza, and lots more.