Biography & Memoirs Book Discussion Group

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Join us as we discuss great lives and times as presented in biographies and memoirs. All discussions are free and there is no registration required Meets the 2nd Thursday of each month @ 10:30 am Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Community Meeting Room.

Katy Geissert Civic Center Library
3301 Torrance Blvd. Torrance, CA 90503 (310) 618-5959

View our previous selections here

Happy Holidays! Read Something Fun!    No December Meeting

 

January 11th, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
Chanel : a Woman of Her Own by Axel  Madsen

Chanel. The name means fashion and perfume, emancipation and casual feminine allure. Gabrielle Chanel began as a kept woman making hats for her lover's other mistresses and went on to become fashion's greatest career woman. She never married or had children, but men like Igor Stravinsky and the Duke of Westminster abandoned their families for her. Now Axel Madsen tells Chanel's story.

February 8th, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
The Quartet : Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 by Joseph J Ellis

The prizewinning author of Founding Brothers and American Sphinx now gives us the unexpected story--brilliantly told--of why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew. The Quartet is the story of this second American founding It was these men who shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force a calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.

March 8th, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
American Jezebel : the Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante

Until now, Hutchinson has been a polarizing figure in American history and letters, attracting either disdain or exaltation. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was haunted by the "sainted" Hutchinson, used her as a model for Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. Much of the praise for her, however, is muted by a wish to domesticate the heroine. Her detractors, starting with her neighbor John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts, referred to her as "the instrument of Satan," the new Eve, the "disturber of Israel," a witch, "more bold than a man," and Jezebel -- the ancient Israeli queen who, on account of her tremendous political power, was "the most evil woman" in the Bible. American Jezebel brings both balance and perspective to Hutchinson's story. It captures this American heroine's life in all its complexity, presenting her not as a religious fanatic, a cardboard feminist, or a raging crank -- as some have portrayed her -- but as a flesh-and-blood wife, mother, theologian, and political leader.

April 12th, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
Prince of Darkness : the Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire by Shane White

In Prince of Darkness, a groundbreaking and vivid account, eminent historian Shane White reveals the larger than life story of a man who defied every convention of his time. He wheeled and dealed in the lily white business world, he married a white woman, he bought a mansion in rural New Jersey, he owned railroad stock on trains he was not legally allowed to ride, and generally set his white contemporaries teeth on edge when he wasn't just plain outsmarting them. An important contribution to American history, Hamilton's life offers a way into considering, from the unusual perspective of a black man, subjects that are usually seen as being quintessentially white, totally segregated from the African American past.

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