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The end of June is the end of our financial fiscal year, and so we wrap up our spending and prepare for another year and another budget. The best part is the influx of new titles coming into the libraries, and I thought I would mention a few new books that you may want to check out. Pun intended!

Ordinarily when I do book reviews, I mention fiction titles, so this week I’m going to focus on a few new non-fiction books that may interest readers.

Defiant: The POWs who endured Vietnam’s most infamous prison, the women who fought for them, and the one who never returned by Alvin Townley. The subtitle pretty much tells you what this book is about. During the Vietnam War, in an effort to maintain their Code of Conduct, American POWs developed an underground resistance to the brutal conditions and torture at the hands of their captors. The North Vietnamese singled out eleven “leaders” of the resistance and relocated them to an isolated prison camp that would become known as Alcatraz. This is the story of the suffering and bravery of these American prisoners, and of the effort and faith of their wives and loved ones at home. These courageous women never gave up, and their efforts would ultimately spark the nationwide POW/MIA movement.

Finding me: a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed by Michelle Knight. Ms. Knight speaks out about the incredible, horrific experience of being kidnapped and held prisoner in a Cleveland house for 10 years by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. She was eventually joined by two other women, all of whom suffered torture at the hands of their captor. This story, while difficult, reveals how one woman remained unbroken under extreme conditions and how she plans to move forward into a better future.

Hard Choices by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton focuses on the four years she spent as the 67th Secretary of State, giving us an insider’s look at the crises, choices and challenges she faced. She also gives her personal views on issues facing our country, and what it will take for the U.S. to compete and thrive in an interdependent world. She visited 112 countries during her tenure and can be said to have a truly global perspective on our future.

1954: the year Willie Mays and the first generation of black superstars changed major league baseball forever by Bill Madden. Summer is synonymous with baseball, of course, but this year marks an important anniversary. 1954 was an incredible baseball season, and author Madden tells the story of Larry Doby and the Indians, a team who won an American League record 111 games, dethroned the five-straight World Series champion Yankees, and went on to play Willie Mays’s Giants in the first World Series to feature players of color on both teams. Madden interviewed both Mays and Doby for this book, plus other baseball legends who were there to witness history in the making.

World War I: the definitive visual history by R.G. Grant. Speaking of anniversaries, 2014 also marks the centennial of the start of World War I. DK Publishers has published a highly illustrated, in-depth account of The Great War. Author Grant, a prominent historian, charts the developments of the war from a global perspective, featuring illustrated timelines, detailed maps and personal accounts.

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