In the 1890′s, Nellie Bly was a reporter for the New York World. An ambitious reporter, Bly covered sensational news stories, even having herself admitted to a mental hospital in order to report on the conditions inside. Determined to find a story to capture the imagination of the city, Bly proposed a trip around the world, planned in order to beat the Eighty Days journey by the Jules Verne character Phileas Fogg. With the approval of her editor, Joseph Pulitzer, Bly set out from New York to England on November 14, 1889. The editor of the Cosmopolitan was not to be outdone and set their literary reporter Elizbeth Brisland off on her own journey around the world, but heading in the opposite direction, across the American west and the Pacific. This is a fascinating look into the journeys of the two women who are both defying gender stereotypes, the adventures they experienced and their reactions to their travels. Each woman’s travel was planned to exact hours and minutes in order for them to race around the globe, and the entire nation became riveted by their competition. They viewed the world very differently and the insights into their personalities are fascinating, as are the countries and cities that they travel through. Author Goodman has filled the book with extensive research about the women and the times they live in. This story provides an absorbing, in-depth and compelling view of two amazing women and of the world at the turn of the century
“Kevin Olson fell in love with Manhattan history at a young age. But he didn’t know that his encounter with Chief Tatarrax would lead him to write his first book. ‘My spark of history happened …as a small child at an Arts in the Park event, and I wandered off to find a monument of Chief Tatarrax,’ said Olson, now a lawyer in New York City. ‘That’s when I became interested in the history of the area.’ The project started six years ago when Olson was back in Manhattan to visit family during the sesquicentannial.” Hutchnews.com
In Frontier Manhattan, Olson covers the first four decades of Manhattan as it grew from tent to town. When Isaac Goodnow and five fellow New Englanders arrived, they pitched a tent and launched a town. Despite illness, harassment and homesickness, they established an anti-slavery and educational stronghold. His account of Kansa Indian Settlement Blue Earth Village shines a light on pre-history that has been little covered. Spared much of the Bleeding Kansas violence, Manhattan saw its share of shootout and lynchings in its Wild West days. He relates the story of the emigration of New England settlers, the antebellum era and the 1860s in great detail.
Why do the eastern states have more squiggly borders and the western have more straight borders? What does the Civil War have to do with the border of Nevada? If you’re a curious person at all, How the States Got Their Shapes is a fascinating look at our nation’s geography. Brian Unger travels throughout the U.S. talking to the locals and experts about borders, how they came to be and how they affect our lives now. Originally aired on the History Channel, this series will crack you up while you expand your knowledge.
This DVD set from the History Channel reviews the history of mankind from the origins of the earth to today. This ambitious project details specific events in human history that became turning points in the evolution of man and societies. It includes the stories of many individuals whose influence and discoveries altered human history, from the discovery of fire and iron to the development of writing, architecture and warfare. Filled with interesting dramatizations, Mankind: The Story of All of Us, illustrates the connections between our past and present and links past events to how our world functions today. Not an in-depth account of human history, this set will tantalize with facts and descriptions of people and events and may prompt the viewer to do more detailed explorations of interesting subjects. Learn more about our world with this fascinating DVD series!
I always look forward to new titles by writer Robert Utley. While Utley, a former historian for the National Park Service, has created some excellent guidebooks for various parks, he has also written extensively about the American West. His books are always scrupulously researched, and he manages to remain objective about real characters that are sometimes larger-than-life. “The Lance and the Shield” offers great insights into the life and character of Sitting Bull, while “A Life Wild and Perilous” presents incredible details about the lives of the mountain men who explored and hunted the West.
I was not disappointed by Utley’s latest book, “Geronimo.” Like most of us, Utley had heard rumors about Geronimo’s past. To some people, for example, Geronimo is considered a heroic representative of the remnants of the American Indian tribes fighting for a homeland in the wake of pioneer settlements. To others, Geronimo is regarded as little more than a blood-thirsty killer who preyed on unsuspecting settlers. To still others, he is venerated as a chief who wisely led a band of Apache warriors in the Southwest.
Utley’s research led him to the discovery of a character that he describes as both complex and contradictory. Why? First of all, Geronimo was not a chief at all. He was a tactical leader, an expert in orchestrating raids to capture slaves and steal horses. He had a particular hatred for the Mexican population, so he frequently ventured across borders to take advantage of livestock holdings. And yet, he was regarded by his followers as being a great negotiator, particularly when the Apache people were later relocated to reservations.
He also frequently changed his mind, hence the contradictory nature of Utley’s findings. Geronimo regarded himself as a great healer, for example, and was sought out by his followers when they developed ailments. When he himself became ill, though, he immediately sought the aid of white American doctors. He also despised the lies that U.S. Cavalry leaders told in order to remove the Apaches from their native land, and yet he himself was guilty of frequent dishonesty, and on several occasions abandoned his friends during battle.
To what does Utley attribute Geronimo’s fame? Partly, it is the times in which he lived. Westward expansion did encroach on the Apache grounds, eventually pushing the native people to the unfamiliar and unhealthy reservations in Florida, and finally to a more habitable locale in Oklahoma. Geronimo resisted relocation as long as he could. Again and again, he suffered the loss of family members and close friends during surprise attacks that drastically reduced the Apache population. His skirmishes became legendary in newspapers, and his reputation grew, until he became symbolic of the solitary hero fighting a losing cause. He also adjusted surprisingly well to his new circumstances. Photographs taken late in his life depict him as an avid participant in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis, as well as the driver of an automobile for a 1905 convention.
Utley’s retelling of Geronimo’s life story is typical of the author’s lively accounts of the West. We learn, for example, that Geronimo was an unknown until he reached his middle fifties. Until that time, he had led a life unremarkable in the Apache tradition. He had a family to which he was deeply committed, a system of traditional beliefs to which he adhered and a fairly ordinary reputation as an Apache warrior. It was not until westward expansion and territorial battles developed, that his leadership skills in arranging ambushes and concealing encampments became crucial.
Jason Betzinez, who wrote a book entitled “I Fought with Geronimo,” was an Apache writer whose work Utley greatly admires. Betzinez wrote of the honesty and endurance of the Apache people, but also of their quarrelsome nature and their tendency toward drunkenness. Geronimo’s death resulted from his weakness for alcohol. Despite the fact that the law barred Indians from buying liquor, Geronimo obtained a bottle, drank it while riding a horse home in freezing temperatures and fell from the horse. He lay on the cold ground until found the next morning, dying of pneumonia a few days later. Some hundred years later, Geronimo remains, in Utley’s words, “one of the enduring icons of American and Native American history.” This worthy biography is an essential chapter in the history of the American West.
By Marcia Allen, Technical Services & Collections Manager
Author Larry McMurtry achieved almost instant fame in 1985 when he wrote the now-famous saga of the West, Lonesome Dove. In fact, the novel earned the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was later developed into an Emmy Award-winning TV series that starred Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. McMurtry went on to write other tales of the West, but none achieved the same stardom of that Gus McCrae/Woodrow Call cattle drive partnership.
McMurtry’s latest is his take on the life of Custer, but readers hoping to find a definitive biography about the controversial Custer will be disappointed. McMurtry’s Custer does not follow the boyhood and maturing of the West Point graduate, nor does it contain an in-depth study of his development as a military leader. It mentions his parentage in passing and speaks of his siblings only in listing family members who died with him at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
McMurtry admits in the text that there are other writers, most notably Evan S. Connell in his magnificent biography, Son of the Morning Star, and Nathaniel Philbrick in his historical account, Last Stand, who have written outstanding accounts about Custer. McMurtry elected to write what he calls a “short biography,” designed to bring clarity to its subject.
Does he succeed? In some ways he does. We have clear notions of Custer’s character flaws. Yes, he graduated last in his class at West Point. Yes, he seems to have had an enormous ego that compelled him to behave rashly, making enemies of those who outranked him (like General Grant) as well as those he commanded (like troops he abandoned at the Washita Battleground). Yes, he had difficulty heeding authority, and was charged with disregarding orders an astounding number of times.
In contrast, we also have the Custer who was admired by many. He did conduct himself bravely during Civil War battles and was promoted to general in as astoundingly short time. He did verify the existence of gold in the Black Hills. And he did earn the admiration and loyalty of his wife, Libbie, who spent her widowhood defending his character to any who would listen.
McMurtry also presents a wide array of period photographs. We find Custer amid the troops in Civil War shots. We see portraits of the young Custer couple, taken at various encampments and forts. We peruse portraits of various Native American tribal leaders, especially shots of Sitting Bull who may or may not have encountered Custer on the hills of the Little Bighorn. We also find depictions of the battle itself: some romanticized heroic stances, others realistic imaginings of what might have occurred.
But the book has flaws of its own. There are times when the language is amazingly unsuited to the tale. McMurtry, for example, alludes to Custer and his doomed troops battling the countless numbers of Native American warriors with: “Surprise, surprise, you’re dead!” The book also takes tangents that have little relevance to the subject. The author, for example, spends unsubstantiated speculation about Custer’s involvement with a Cheyenne woman and with Libbie’s possible reaction to any dalliance. How this relates to events in 1876 in Montana remains unclear. And I am troubled by a photograph that is labeled “Custer with his horse, Comanche.” Comanche, the scarred survivor of Custer’s charge in the Montana hills, belonged to Myles Keogh, who was killed during the battle. It seems likely that the photograph was taken after the battle and that the man holding the bridle was not Custer at all.
Where is the appeal of the book? For those like me, who like enjoy reading about the American West, it offers unique ways of examining those past events. I was intrigued, for example, with McMurtry’s perceived likenesses between George Armstrong Custer and John C. Fremont, who like Custer, proved a controversial figure in his time. I also better understand the animosity between Libbie Custer and Major Marcus Reno, a man Libbie blamed for her husband’s death. And I think McMurtry’s assessment of the Little Bighorn Battle as the final blow against Native American independence is accurate. McMurtry’s book is not an authoritative account of Custer’s life, but it does illuminate aspects of a violent time clouded in question.
This exquisetly written first novel by Vaddey Ratner is the story of the tragic results of the rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970′s, as seen through the eyes of 7 year old Raami. Raami’s father is a part of the royal family and is a poet, who has instilled in Raami a love of stories. Her father returns home one day bringing news of rebellion and chaos in the city. Soon, rebels force Raami and her family–her parents, sister, aunt, uncle, cousins and grandmother–to leave their home. They are taken into the countryside and into forced labor as the Khmer Rouge attempt to eliminate all class and personal identities from the citizens of Cambodia. As her childhood is stripped from her, Raami must learn to live with violence and death–her memories of the stories and poems of her father are the only remainders of her former life, and her courage and strength are what allow her to survive. This compelling, touching and beautifully written story is one that imparts both the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime and the loving memories and stories that Raami treasures of her father and her family.
In the Shadow of the Banyan is based on the author’s own experiences as a 5 year old child in Cambodia during this revolution. Her story is also one of amazing resilience–after surviving 4 years of forced labor and starvation, she and her mother (all that remained of her family) came to the U.S. in 1981 as refugees with no English language skills. In 1990 she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and graduated with highest honors from Cornell University. Her ability to convey her experiences in the form of a novel is exceptional and moving and, with over 2 million Cambodians killed during this revolution, she tells a story that is important for the world to remember.
Balthazar and Hebe Jones were very happily married and parents of a small son, Milo,when Balthazar accepted a new job in a very unique place. The family moved to the Tower of London so Balthazar could serve the Queen as a Beefeater.. The adjustments were many, such as adjusting to living in rooms with no square corners only rounded walls with ancient markings left by the centuries of prisoners who were held there while imprisoned. Balthazar is nominated to become the Keeper of the Royal Menagerie. Gift animals given to the Queen by heads of state had been kept in the Tower from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries when they were transferred to the London Zoo. Now they are being returned to the Tower to attract more visitors. Hebe and Bazlthazar are upset over the new responsibilities, but their most difficult problem is learning to deal with their grief over the loss of their son. The curious setting and unique, zany and funny story is actually a very charming love story with much historical interest. Like most historical fiction there is some truth to the story of the Royal Menagerie explained in this link.
Here it is more than halfway through 2012, and we haven’t heard much about the War of 1812 bicentennial. Perhaps it’s not surprising. The War of 1812 has always been overshadowed by the American Revolution, the Civil War, and nearly every other American conflict. In terms of Americans engaged in the fighting, and lives lost, it ranks only 7th among all American wars. In terms of those killed or wounded, however, its approximately 20,000 casualties represent a larger percentage of casualties than the American forces experienced in World War II (8.7% versus 6.7%).
In this nearly forgotten war, the emerging American nation took on the greatest naval power in the world. We endured the capture and burning of our nation’s capital. We earned a national anthem from Francis Scott Key’s immortal words penned during the bombardment of Fort McHenry. We invaded our Canadian neighbors to the north and were repulsed. We defeated the pride of the British army at New Orleans. The War of 1812 was a war of heroes, including Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Oliver Hazard Perry, future presidents Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, and the pirate Jean Laffite.
To learn more about the War of 1812, all you have to do is visit the Manhattan Public Library and check out one of the several titles available on the subject.
In Mr. and Mrs. Madison’s War, President James Madison mourns the nation’s loss as smoke rises from the ruins of the capital. Historian Hugh Howard presents a wide-screen epic of one of America’s least remembered wars. Drawing on countless primary sources, he presents a gripping account of the War of 1812 as James and Dolley Madison experienced it.
At the outbreak of hostilities the U.S. Navy consisted of seventeen oceangoing ships against the Royal Navy’s seven hundred. A. J. Langguth brings to life many of the individuals who faced such odds in Union 1812: The Americans Who Fought the Second War of Independence. Among the colorful personalities he presents are many of the most enduring characters in American history: Dolley Madison, Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, Oliver Hazard Perry, and Stephen Decatur.
Every time we sing the national anthem, we recall events from the War of 1812. In The Flag, The Poet & The Song, author Irvin Molotsky tells the story behind the story of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In addition to recounting the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Molotsky uncovers facts and fallacies surrounding the song and the flag.
Winston Groom recounts one of the greatest battles fought in North America in Patriotic Fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans. As its subtitle promises, this book tells the story of two men, one an American general and future President, the other a French pirate, who join forces to defeat a superior British force and save the city of New Orleans.
For a short narrative history, check out The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent by J.C.A. Stagg. Professor Stagg focuses on the war as a continental event, portraying the war in the context of the larger issue of emerging American interests vying to contend with the effects of rival European nationalisms.
David Hanna brings to vivid life the lost era of naval battles under sail in Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812. The battle between the HMS Boxer and the USS Enterprise occurred off the coast of Pemaquid Point, Maine, and was witnessed by civilians on shore. The battle lasted less than one hour but was brutal and bloody, and cost the lives of the young commanders on both sides.
Learn about the flag that inspired the national anthem at the Smithsonian website.
Finally, visit the Library of Congress for a guide to the War of 1812. The guide includes a chronology, links to some primary documents, and a list of other websites to search.
>Gritty and atmospheric, The Little Russian, grabbed me and held me in the early twentieth century drama that Jewish Russians experienced. Vacillating between the horror of pogroms where Jews were massacred, to the lfestyle of a very wealthy grain merchant, we follow the story of Berta Alshonsky.
As a child, Berta tastes the pleasures of money while staying with wealthy relatives in Moscow. She is sent back to life in the Ukraine, Little Russia, as a grocer’s daughter in a small hamlet when she is no longer needed as a companion to her cousin. A wealthy grain buyer falls for Berta and life is easy once more until her husband’s secret life as an arms smuggler is revealed. Berta makes the fateful decision to stay in the Ukraine with her children when her husband flees to America. The tumultous war time and lost love reminds me of the epic Dr. Zhivago. Berta’s courage and determination to find her husband are tested in her fight for survival and protection of her children. This first novel for Susan Sherman is an impressive beginning.
As I’ve traveled throughout the country, I’ve heard way too many jokes about living in Kansas. I take them in stride, but always defend my state. One of the things I love about Kansas is the rich history: the Native Americans, abolitionists, farmers, teetotalers, and educators who made Kansas into the place we know today. Historic Photos of Kansas gives us a chance to browse through the past. This beautiful book allowed me to see what my grandmother’s soddy may have looked like or my mother as a little girl on the farm. There are even a few pictures of Manhattan back in the day. This glimpse into the past is thoroughly enjoyable.
She was the pride of the White Star Line. Built over the course of two years in the shipyards of Belfast, the RMS Titanic was not only the largest ship afloat at the time, but she was also labeled “unsinkable,” due partly to her watertight compartments. On her maiden voyage she carried a wide mix of passengers: steerage quarters were filled with new immigrants, and upper levels hosted the wealthy and famous. She sailed on April 10, 1912 and ran into disaster in the North Atlantic in the late hours of April 15, 1912. While her initial collision with an iceberg was not considered lethal, the fact that some five of her 16 airtight compartments were compromised proved fatal. In a little over two hours, the ship foundered and sank, leaving some 1500 people of over 2200 passengers to perish in the icy sea.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of that terrible tragedy. For those who curious to learn more, there are countless resources available designed to inform about the ship’s specifications, the passenger lists, and the even the resulting courtroom investigations. We can read of survivor testimonials and burial sites for the unfortunate, as well as efforts to salvage the wreckage.
Of course, Walter Lord’s 1955 fascinating book, entitled A Night to Remember, remains a classic. Lord’s account follows the passengers and the crew as each faced the disaster in his or her own fashion. Destined to become a film of the same name, this story remains among the more famous of the retellings.
Dr. Robert Ballard is considered a scientific authority on the event, given his expertise in locating and exploring the wreckage. With the aid of a small robotic submarine, Ballard was able to locate the debris field that others had been unable to pinpoint for so long. Titanic Revealed, a haunting dvd documentary, recalls Ballard’s original discovery. Ballard also assembled an excellent picture book of photographs taken during his exploration. Called Titanic: The Last Great Images, the book offers us eerie glimpses of the crusted bow and the battered remains of children’s shoes found on the ocean floor. The book also offers period photos taken both during the ship’s construction and as she departed.
Another beautifully arranged book of photographs, Titanic: An Illustrated History, involves the work of author Don Lynch. Among other highlights, Lynch presents a foldout of the ship’s layout and interior shots of the first class staircase, the second-class public rooms and the third-class dining room. The book also supplies a valuable overview of the tragedy as it unfolded. Readers can even see the position of various lifeboats over the course of the sinking.
For those who seek a more personal look at the tragedy, Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage seems the perfect book. Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Shelia Jemima assembled this fine collection of letters, photos and testimonials. Of particular interest are the personal recollections supplied by the many survivors and the heartbreaking photographs of various memorials, such as the White Star Company’s church service in Southampton.
For those who wish to do more reading on the event, Stephanie Barczewski’s Titanic: A Night Remembered includes detailed biographies of some of the dead. Among them are the ship’s captain, Edward Smith, and band member Wallace Hartley, who played music to the end.
And Brad Matsen, author of Titanic’s Last Secrets, adds more to what we know by retelling the explorations of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who not only investigated the wreckage of the Titanic, but also the remains of the Britannic.
Interested in one of this year’s titles? Shadow of the Titanic by Andrew Wilson is one of the finer offerings. Wilson’s take is unique, however, in that he conveys the dismal lives of the survivors after the collision. So many suffered from what we now recognize as survivors’ guilt. For example, Madeleine Astor, widow of John Jacob Astor, went on to marry several more times and eventually lost her portion of the Astor fortune. Duff Gordon, one of the many wealthy, never overcame rumors that he had paid lifeboat rowers to ignore those struggling in the icy waters.
Reflection on the fate of the Titanic leads to thoughts on the nature of heroism, vulnerability, and randomness of chance. The library has an excellent collection of titles that can offer you more about that fateful trip aboard the pride of the White Star Line.
>Relive Downtown Abbey, the wildly loved PBS series by reading The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes.This stunning book is filled with beautiful color photos of the cast members in costume to give the impression that you are back in the midst of this favorite drama. The oversized-volume is packed with sumptuous full-color pictures of the production, the cast, historical connections and its shining star, Highclere Castle, the grand manor house in Hampshire where the series is filmed .
The well researched material gives a fascinating historical background for life as a servant just before and during the First World War in England, but also has an interesting perspective on life’s tremendous expectations of the upper class, such as always dressing for dinner. Jessica Fellowes, the niece of Julian Fellowes the writer and creator of Downton Abbey, gives us fresh insights into this fascinating world.
By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
George Armstrong Custer is one of the most iconic figures in the history of the American West. Colorful and controversial, he was brevetted a general at age 23, a Civil War hero, and dead on the plains of Montana at age 36. Most people know the story of his and the 7th Cavalry’s defeat at the Little Big Horn, but perhaps fewer people realize that Custer spent several years in Kansas.
From November 1866 until 1871, while posted to Fort Riley, Kansas, Custer found some of his greatest success and failure as a commander. Custer’s years in the state are the focus of author Jeff Barnes’ program, “Custer in Kansas: Breaking in the Boy General,” which he will present at the Manhattan Public Library on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.
Barnes is the author of the newly published “The Great Plains Guide to Custer.” In this historical travel guide, Barnes pinpointed 85 forts, battles and other sites west of the Mississippi associated with the legendary general. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Barnes writes and lives in Omaha. He is a Nebraska native, a journalism graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a frequently requested speaker with the Nebraska Humanities Council.
There is a wide range of titles and resources available to Custer history buffs. Websites of interest include www.garryowen.com, featuring Custer’s genealogy, a photo gallery, and a list of curious questions and topics. Jeff Barnes’ website, http://fortsofthenorthernplains.com/, includes links to historic sites associated with Custer.
Manhattan Public Library has dozens of titles about Custer’s life and the Little Bighorn battle, and hundreds of titles about the history of the American West. In The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, author Nathaniel Philbrick sketched the two larger-than-life antagonists: Sitting Bull, whose charisma and political savvy earned him the position of leader of the Plains Indians, and George Armstrong Custer, a man with a reputation for fearless and often reckless courage. Philbrick reminded readers that the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also, even in victory, the last stand for the Sioux and Cheyenne Indian nations.
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn by Jim Donovan explored the disastrous battle and the finger-pointing that was its aftermath. Custer, conveniently dead, took the brunt of the blame. The truth, however, was far more complex, and this book related the entire story, bringing to light details of the U.S. Army cover-up.
In The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn, Joseph Marshall revealed a picture of the battle previously available only in the Lakota oral tradition. He explored the significance of the battle to the Lakota, and considered the consequences it had for all Native Americans.
Louise Barnett investigated the life, death, and mythic afterlife of Custer in her book Touched by Fire. Barnett traced the complexities of Custer’s personality and attempted to understand how this famed military tactician waged an impossible attack at the Little Bighorn.
Evan S. Connell’s Son of the Morning Star is part study of Plains Indian life, part military history, and part character study. This author used meticulous research and a novelist’s eye to tell a story of heroism, foolishness, and savagery.
Elizabeth Bacon Custer remained a devoted widow for fifty-seven years after her husband’s death. She was an outspoken advocate for her husband’s legacy. The myth of Custer, his place as an iconic figure in American history, is largely due to her efforts. Elizabeth Custer, or Libbie as she was known, wrote two books about the experiences and hardships she shared with the General. Tenting on the Plains concerns the Custers’ experiences immediately after the Civil War in Texas and Kanas. In Boots and Saddles, Libbie wrote about their final years on the plains at Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory.
Finally George Armstrong Custer also wrote a book about his experiences, My Life on the Plains: or, Personal Experiences with Indians. In this collection of his magazine articles, Custer recounted his life in the years immediately following the Civil War and revealed his often ambiguous attitudes towards the Indians.
If you’re interested in George Armstrong Custer and Kansas, you won’t want to miss “Custer in Kansas: Breaking in the Boy General,” presented by Jeff Barnes at the Manhattan Public Library on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.