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Fascinating Histories


Question: What do vitamins, autism, rain, the Chamber of Commerce, DARPA, St. Mark's Place, and the Vatican all have in common? Answer: Recently published, well researched, and reported histories. 


Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection by Catherine Price

Vitamania takes the reader through a century of hype and advertising fueling our quest for a shortcut to optimum health.







NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

NeuroTribes is a comprehensive look at the history of autism from the research pioneers who defined the spectrum (in profoundly different ways) to the social forces in the 1990s that led to a sudden increase in diagnosis. It argues that our neurological differences are natural variations in the human genome and that many of our most revolutionary thinkers lie somewhere on the spectrum. 






Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

Rain begins four billion years ago with the filling of the oceans and builds to modern day climate change. Along the way, we learn about human attempts to control it and the many cultural products it has inspired from music to the mackintosh.  






The Influence Machine

The Influence Machine: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Capture of American Life by Alyssa Katz

If you think the Chamber of Commerce is all about supporting local businesses on Main Street and Little League, you are so wrong.  






The Pentagon's Brain

The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen

The Pentagon's Brain takes the reader deep inside DARPA to explore the many scientific and technological advances made here as well as the race for military supremacy. 






St. Mark's Is Dead

St. Mark's is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street by Ada Calhoun

The Beats, the hippies, the punks, and the hardcore skater kids all claimed the apex of St. Mark's Place.  A wonderful tapestry of narrative history. 






God's Bankers

God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican by Gerald Posner

God's Bankers chronicles two hundred years of Popes, bishops, and cardinals who oversee the money and power in one of the world's most influencial institutions. 






Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to​ be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your picks! Tell us what you'd recommend: Leave a comment or email us.


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Medical Apartheid

My award-winning book Medical Apartheid was also largely researched at the New York Public Library including stints as an Alllen Room scholar. Might there be interest in including it, Especially because we're in Black History Month? Thanks for considering this.

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