Penguin Books

It's weird enough to think about one of our founding fathers being killed in a duel. 

It's just that much weirder to imagine the sitting Vice-President of the United States pulling the trigger. 

But that's what happened when Aaron Burr faced Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804. 

John Sedgwick, whose ancestor was Speaker of the House at the time, writes of the friendship-turned-sour between the men in War of Two.

Art of Survival Facebook page

Maybe you don't generally visit federal courthouses for art displays, but here's your chance. 

The Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene is the temporary home to art showcasing a dark moment in American history: the sentencing of Japanese-Americans to prison camps, including one at Tule Lake. 

A display called "The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake" hangs and stands in the courthouse through November 22nd. 

Viking Press

Nazi Germany did not surrender without a fight... a very big fight. 

Hitler's Germany made a last great push in Western Europe starting in late 1944, in what became known as The Battle of the Bulge. 

Ferocious fighting went on for weeks in the winter-bound Ardennes Forest, a tale relayed in great detail  in Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge

Counterpoint Press

Mark Lombardi was an artist, to be sure, but what else was he?  Before his death, he made intricate drawings that told stories of banking and organized crime and intelligence agencies. 

The FBI and CIA both studied his work. 

With that backdrop, more than a few people doubt that Lombardi's death in March 2000 was a suicide. 

His story is told at length in the book Interlock: Art, Conspiracy, and the Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi

Oregon State Archives

So much of what we know about the past and our ancestors comes from the records they kept. 

And those end up archived somewhere. 

In recent years, the "I Found It In The Archives!" campaign has highlighted some significant finds of documents and the stories they tell. 

Now the Oregon State Archives are getting in on the act, pulling records of notable events in Oregon history out for the public to see. 

Viking Press

Maybe you never heard of Edward Proctor Hunt, but he lived a fascinating life. 

He was born into the Acoma Pueblo tribe in New Mexico in the middle of the 19th century, and ultimately lived as an indian in a white world. 

Peter Nabokov tells the story of Hunt in How The World Moves

The book forces readers to confront the fascination with native culture and artifacts American display on one hand, while uprooting and exterminating tribes on the other hand. 

Simon & Schuster

Michael Gruenbaum was young when his family was forced to move into a Jewish ghetto in Prague. 

But he grew up fast when the Nazis increased their restrictions on Jews; he and his family ended up in a concentration camp. 

Michael tells his often-grueling story in a book co-written with Todd Hasak-Lowy, Somewhere There Is Still a Sun

Minotaur Books

  We attach a certain level of cinematic romance to the gangsters of the Prohibition era. 

But they were just as scary in their time as our drug cartels and their operatives are today. 

And Joe Urschel gives us an idea of just how scary in his book The Year of Fear

The year in question is 1933, a critical turning point year, both because Prohibition ended and because it was a year in which the FBI began coming into its own as a major force. 

Viking Press

Talk about making a splash: Mary McGrory's first assignment in Washington was to cover Sen. Joseph McCarthy's hearings to root out communists in the Army. 

McGrory had a knack for being first in a lot of different ways.  She is the subject of John Norris's book Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism.

McGrory rattled many cages and took no prisoners in a career as a liberal columnist stretching into the George W. Bush years. 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

We're always excited when Eureka's Amy Stewart comes out with a new book.  But darn it, her latest work is fiction, and we don't do (much) fiction. 

Fortunately, Girl Waits With Gun is based on a true story. 

It's about a towering New Jersey woman of a century ago, Constance Kopp, and the circumstances that turned her and her sisters into heat-packing law enforcers. 

Constance became the first female deputy sheriff in the country! 

Avery Books

Even people who have never had surgery have an idea (from TV shows) how it's done: clean gowns, face masks, sterile tools.  NONE of those things were part of surgery in the early 19th century. 

One American doctor led the way: Thomas Dent Mütter. 

His surgical breakthroughs--including little details like anesthesia--are catalogued in the book Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, now in paperback. 


If you've ever heard of the "wrap dress," you've heard of Diane Von Furstenberg. 

In fact, you've probably heard the name even if you haven't heard of the dress. 

Von Furstenberg is one of the most influential fashion designers of our time. 

Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped tracks the designers career and work. 


Plenty of memoirists join us on the Exchange, sharing stories we might not have heard otherwise. 

But you don't need the title "memoirist" to tell your own story. 

That is precisely the point of Alan Gelb's book Having The Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story

Even if you don't think of yourself as a writer and never will, there are tips in the book to assembling a coherent story or set of stories from your own life. 

Simon & Schuster

The Oregon Trail's role in the westward expansion of the United States is beyond dispute. 

But that's different from actually recreating the journey in today's world. 

Who'd want to, with the long, dusty days, the chilly nights, the lack of water and creature comforts? 

Rinker Buck, that's who.  And the writer even convinced his brother to join him for a journey retracing the Trail, from Missouri to Oregon. 

It's all in his book The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Henry Holt and Company

  Richard Nixon managed to keep voluminous records of his activities and simultaneously desire to keep complete control over information about himself and his presidency.  It did NOT end well.

And with newly-declassified documents available through the years, we learn even more about Nixon's practices and paranoia. 

Tim Weiner provides a fresh portrait of the late president, in his book One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Henrietta Bingham is not a household name today, but she was quite a sensation 80 years ago. 

She was the daughter of a wealthy newspaper publisher, a bisexual, and the lover of both actor John Houseman and tennis champion Helen Hull Jacobs.

The story of her fascinating life is told by her great-niece, Emily Bingham, in the book Irrepressible

The People Who Preserve The Past

Apr 7, 2015

Preserving the past takes a lot of work in the present.

Just ask the people who work in museums, historical societies, and libraries.

They'll get a chance to ask each other for ideas at the Oregon Heritage Conference coming up later this month on the coast.

Count on Kyle Jansson being there from the Oregon Heritage Commission.

Has it really been 30 years since Amadeus won 8 Oscars? How time flies. But I always thought Salieri was getting a bad rap. I should've known it had something to do with Pushkin. This story from the BBC has some great Mozart/Salieri nuggets!

A People's History Of The Peculiar

Jun 18, 2014
Viva Editions

Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Columbus both make appearances in a new book, but not in the manner you might expect. 

It turns out Jefferson's grandson was an axe murderer, and history really has little record of Columbus. 

That's what Nick Belardes tells us in his book A People's History of the Peculiar. 

Cokie Roberts And The Founding Mothers

Mar 20, 2014

The term "founding fathers" rolls off the tongue pretty easily in our country.

Franklin, Washington, Jefferson… we can all name some of the men who helped found the republic. 

But women played a role, too, despite the very different gender relations of the 18th century.