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Five young adult books perfect for grownups

Five young adult  books perfect for grownups

Take a look at our pick of books for grownups

By (The Christian Science Monitor)

Published: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:50 PM

Pure Grit

The heroism of Army and Navy nurses stationed in the Philippines who suddenly found themselves in the thick of World War II is the focus of this book. The nurses’ relatively routine assignments became anything but as the Japanese invaded the Philippines and they found themselves dealing with wounded and dying soldiers, and even struggling for their own survival in prison camp.

An excerpt:
“Though confronted by carnage from the first day of the war, the nurses never became hardened to shattered and bleeding bodies. That night they tightened tourniquets and treated shock with tears streaming down their faces. Most had learned to draw upon a ‘blessed numbness’ that allowed them to do their job. But when faced with such mass suffering and death, something cracks inside the human soul. Juanita [Redmond] said, ‘You can’t ever be quite the same again.’

“Josie Nesbit believed that her charges kept going, in part, because there was no place to hide and no way to escape.”

Thomas Paine: Crusader for Liberty

Many of the words that fed the spirit of American independence were penned by Thomas Paine, whose 18th-century writings were immortalised in such tracts as “Common Sense” and “The Age of Reason.” This book explores how his ideas helped form a new nation.

An excerpt:

“Paine broke new ground by arguing that true liberty requires freedom from want. Hungry people cannot be free people because they are slaves to their stomachs. Hunger forces them to obey those who offer a morsel of food, however evil they may be. Thus, to promote freedom, Paine outlined a program to correct the abuses he had seen in England. His program called for abolishing ‘irrational and tyrannical laws’ that had children hanged for petty offenses. It also looked forward to what we today call the welfare state: free education, unemployment benefits, old-age pensions, and public housing. The money to pay for these programs, Paine noted, could easily come from a progressive tax; that is, those who earned more, paid more taxes. In 1797, Paine wrote Agrarian Justice, a more detailed plan for social reform.”

Discover Ancient Rome

While some of the basic facts about ancient Rome are familiar to many, here’s a short work that provides a crash course in everything from the city’s founding and laws to the mythology, religion, customs, and lives of its ordinary citizens. An excerpt:

“A Roman family’s diet depended on their social status. Those with little money ate wheat, which was probably boiled because the poor usually did not have ovens for baking. They also ate beans and leeks, but meat was a luxury. Romans used milk to make cheese, but they did not drink it. They thought only uncivilized people drank milk!”

Women Heroes of the American Revolution

While the history books are filled with the accounts of male soldiers and patriots during the American Revolution, the efforts of women are generally overlooked. That’s not the case here, as women such as Martha Bratton, who blew up a supply of gunpowder lest it fall into British hands, take centre stage. Among the other women heroes featured are spies, a patriotic publisher, and even a woman who disguised herself as a man to enlist in the Continental Army.

An excerpt:

“Nancy Hart could get things done! When Colonel Elijah Clarke, one of the leaders of the Georgia militia, needed information about what the British troops on the other side of the Savannah River were planning, Nancy Hart volunteered to cross the river and find out what she could. The only problem was there was no bridge. That didn’t stop ‘Aunt Nancy,’ as she was often called.

“Described as ‘six feet high, very muscular, and erect in her gait; her hair light brown,’ Nancy gathered some logs strewn along the riverside and used those muscles of hers to tie them together with vines to form a raft, which she navigated across the river. She got the information, returned, and told it to the Georgia troops.”

Pinstripe Pride

Former Yankees public relations director Marty Appel tells the story of the franchise, dating back to before there was a Yankee Stadium. This middle-grade adaptation of his more voluminous Pinstripe Empire more compactly covers the waterfront, from the glory days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to those of modern stars Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

An excerpt:
“The Yankees won their third straight World Series in 1951, and on December 11, [Joe] DiMaggio announced that ‘I’ve played my last game of ball.’ The year 1951 would be the only year in which [Mickey] Mantle and DiMaggio were teammates.

“DiMaggio never left the public stage. He was adored by his generation of fans, and that meant the world to him. Over the remaining forty-eight years of his life, he attended forty-seven Old-Timers’ Days. He missed only one year when he was in the hospital. It was important that he hear the roar of the crowd. In 1969 he was voted the Greatest Living Player in a national fan vote, and he always liked to be introduced that way. It meant a lot to him.”

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