When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II, by Molly Guptill Manning

Caitlin's picture

On May 10, 1933, German students (with official encouragement) burned an estimated 25,000 books in a symbolic act meant to “purify” Germany of Jewish influence. The Nazis would continue to burn books throughout their reign, both in their country and in the countries they invaded, in an attempt to stamp out any thought they deemed dangerous to National Socialism, ultimately destroying over 100 million volumes. People around the world reacted in outrage and horror, and in the US, groups of librarians, citizens, politicians, writers, and publishers came together to fight back. Through organized book donation drives and the invention of an entirely new book format—the Armed Services Edition—these fighters in World War II’s “War of Ideas” put 132 million books in the hands of American servicemen and their allies. Their work inspired an entire generation with a love of reading and enshrined books like Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as American classics. When Books Went to War tells their unforgettable story.

Daily Life Through History

Katie's picture

One of our reference databases that I find most interesting is Daily Life Through History. It allows you to revisit past times and places throughout history and learn what a typical day was like for the people living there, including details of their home life, diets, and common ceremonies. Here are some examples of the great stuff you can explore:

  • The location of Cahokia: It was a settlement in the Southeast/Midwest region of North America during the years 900-1500 AD. It was about the size that London is today and was populated by the Mississippian culture, who constructed mound dwellings and excelled at stone carving, pottery, woodwork, weaponry, and agriculture.
  • Sports and recreation during the Han Dynasty: During this dynasty, which reigned from 260-220 BC, people commonly enjoyed activities such as archery, fencing, boxing, equestrian activities, and even an early version of tug of war. Their sports and physical education were strongly influenced at that time by military training practices.
  • Education in British and Dutch Africa: The database discusses African education mainly during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and explained that young children primarily learned about traditions, customs, and cultures by observing and imitating their elders. Upon their initiation into adulthood, they began a period of more formal education.
  • Food and drink in Victorian England: The working class and rural laborers in the early 1800's had diets that consisted mainly of bread, potatoes, and tea with bacon added for flavoring once or twice a week. Middle and upper class families enjoyed a more diverse menu which could include vegetable-marrow soup, lemon dumplings, boiled mackerel, and macaroni and cheese.

If you've got a time period or culture that you're interested in, you should definitely check out this database to learn more about how the people actually lived.

Daily Life Through History logo

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power, by Paul Fischer

Caitlin's picture

In this fascinating book, film producer Paul Fischer combines interviews, research, and first-hand investigation to tell the strange story of Kim Jong-Il’s kidnapping of South Korea’s leading director and his star actress ex-wife. Obsessed with film since he was a child, Kim Jong-Il used North Korea’s Ministry for Propaganda to build his power within the regime, making the only movies that the isolated North Korean people were allowed to view. As Kim’s ambitions eclipsed his country’s limited filmmaking ability, he decided to recruit new talent—forcibly.

Choi Eun-Hee was South Korea’s biggest and most beloved star; Shin Sang-Ok, her director ex-husband, ran the largest film production company in South Korea. Kim kidnapped both in 1978, and after torturing Shin into compliance, the two began making films for North Korea’s captive audience. With success—their films played to packed theaters for months and won international awards—came the opportunity to escape via a chase straight out of a spy novel.

A must-read for anyone interested in the history and culture of North Korea. 

Delicious! By Ruth Reichl

Colleen's picture

Billie Breslin has an incredible gift. She can identify any flavor, no matter how subtle, with just one taste. Follow Billie as she moves to New York City to pursue a career in food journalism at the well known Delicous! Magazine. Away from her family and feeling out of place in a new city, Billie learns to find total comfort in her eclectic coworkers. 

I love reading. I love food. I especially love reading about food. Delicious! is a fun read and is filled with so many twists I never expected. It's a story with a rich history, intriguing characters, and I guarantee your mouth will water more than once.

Biographies for African American History Month

Kevin's picture

February is full of holidays, including Presidents Day and Valentines Day. It's also African-American History Month (which, I guess is a holi-month). This weeks eBooks feature biographies on this theme.

Since we are all a little short on time, I've picked three, concise ebooks, aimed at a younger audience, but with enough information to interest any age. Check one out, and learn more about a few of the African-Americans who have shaped our country.


Cuban History

Kevin's picture

In the last month, the United States has taken steps to restart diplomatic relations with Cuba, including a face-to-face meeting between the two countries' presidents. These are the highest level meetings in more than 50 years.

If you're interested in learning more about Cuba, check out one of the books below and explore the colorful and controversial history of our southern neighbor.

Happy Reading!

About the UA Archives

UA Archives is the Upper Arlington Public Library’s digital library initiative. Through the UA Archives, the library partners with local organizations and individuals to digitally preserve our community’s historical resources and make them available online. You can use the UA Archives to:


Visit the Archives


Goal & Partners

The goal of the UA Archives digital library program is to preserve original documents, photographs, maps, and other media related to the history and culture of Upper Arlington, Ohio, while offering increased visibility and improved access to these valuable primary reference sources. The Upper Arlington Public Library initiated the program in November 2002. Soon afterward, the library approached the Upper Arlington Historical Society with an offer to digitize and provide online access to the Historical Society’s holdings, which include community documents and photographs. In 2009, the library formed a partnership with the Upper Arlington City School District and the Upper Arlington Alumni Association, which allowed the library to digitize and provide online access to the Upper Arlington High School’s Norwester yearbooks. As part of the library’s agreement with the schools, there will always be a ten-year delay for any yearbooks presented online, so the collection initially included all yearbooks from 1923–1999 with a new volume added each year. More recently, the library has partnered with the City of Upper Arlington to digitally preserve and present volumes of historic minutes from Upper Arlington’s Village Commission and City Council. Through the UA Archives, the Upper Arlington Public Library will continue to lend its expertise to an increasing number of community organizations and individuals by digitizing, cataloging, and providing access to items of historical interest.


The UA Archives website currently includes over 17,000 pages of Norwester yearbooks, chronicling eight decades of Upper Arlington history through text and photographs. In addition to student, faculty, and staff photos, each issue contains articles about school sports, organizations, and activities as well as information on local businesses, current events, and trends. More recent additions to the UA Archives website include the Record of Proceedings of the Village (City) of Upper Arlington, Ohio, which begins in 1918 when the village was first formed. These valuable primary documents bear firsthand witness to the creation of our community. The UA Archives also features approximately 2,000 pages from the Norwester magazine. The magazine was published monthly by the Upper Arlington community from November 1917 through March 1922 and is a rich resource for historical, cultural, architectural, and genealogical information. Each issue includes photographs and articles covering local architecture, residents, domestic life, schools, sports, gardening, and nature, among other topics. Additionally, the Norwester magazine contains several first-hand accounts of World War I, which were sent to the magazine from local residents stationed in Europe.

Development & Community Involvement

As the UA Archives website evolves, it will include oral histories recorded by some of the earliest residents of the community, as well as a wide variety of other materials. Further items from the collections of the Upper Arlington Historical Society will be added, such as blueprints of homes, photos and slides, personal histories, letters, maps, and genealogies of early Upper Arlington residents. The library also plans to include additional material from the city government, schools, churches, and other community organizations, as well as private collections from local residents and businesses. Visit our How to Participate page to learn how you can get involved.

About the UA Archives in a Nutshell

UA Archives is the Upper Arlington Public Library’s digital library initiative. Through the UA Archives, the library partners with local organizations and individuals to digitally preserve our community’s historical resources and make them available online. You can use the UA Archives to:

Learn more or Visit the archives

Ohio: the 48th State

Megan's picture

The petition for statehood from the aspiring state of Ohio was carried by horse over hill and dale to Washington, D.C., where it was promptly delivered… in 1953. You may have learned in school that Ohio became a state on March 1, 1803. Although this is the recognized and official date, it hasn’t been without controversy. The 8th Congress neglected to give Congressional ratification to the state constitution - a key part to the process of becoming a state. This oversight was corrected on August 7, 1953, and Ohio was retroactively granted statehood. Until that moment, the state was technically still a part of the Northwest Territory.  

Gerald Tebben of the Columbus Dispatch points out that “tax protesters have periodically seized upon the 1953 resolution” to try to avoid paying federal income taxes, which became the law of the land in 1913. The courts have not been amused.

Other efforts to refute our 1803 statehood include a 1984 lawsuit to discount Ohio votes in the presidential election, which was covered by the Columbus Dispatch. The lawsuit failed to convince the courts that the 1953 retroactive declaration of statehood was an ex post facto law, and thus unconstitutional. Judge Barrington D. Parker said that the complaint was “completely devoid of merit.”  

To find the articles discussed in this post, enter your library card number to access the Columbus Dispatch Archives, or come to the library and use the microfilm to read articles from before 1985.

  • Tebben, Gerald, “Break out 50 Candles for Ohio?” Columbus Dispatch, August 7, 2003.
  • Judge Rules that Ohio is a State, Ends Lawsuit” Columbus Dispatch, July 22, 1984.

To learn more about Ohio, come to the Ohio Room in the Reference Department and read these and many other titles:


Subscribe to history