Here are some historical books that have crossed our desks recently.

HARDBACK

"ARTIC OBSESSIONS: The Lure of the Far North," by Alexis Troubetzkoy, Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 304 pages (nf)

Traces the historical accounts of travelers to the Canadian Arctic from 325 B.C. to present day and reviews contemporary issues facing the area that spans several continents.

"A LITTLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD," illustrated edition, by E.H. Gombrich, Yale Univeristy Press, $29.95, 304 pages (nf)

In 40 chapters, E.H. Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone ages to the atomic bomb, and in between are wars, conquests, artwork and science. This edition includes more than 200 illustrations.

"ROBERTSON'S BOOK OF FIRSTS: Who Did What for the First Time," by Patrick Robertson, Bloomsbury, $35, 576 pages (nf)

Listed in alphabetical order, Patrick Robertson has listed hundreds of firsts, including canned goods, zoo, 3D film (in 1943 in the former USSR) and supermarket, in what has taken 50 years to compile.

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More hardbacks recently released:

"A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 100 OBJECTS," by Neil MacGregor: Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, picked 100 objects from the museum, from the hand axe to the credit card and a solar-powered lamp and charger, and found experts to comment on each. There are move than 150-plus photos throughout as he weaves through wars, work tools, religion and cultures.

"THE SCRAPBOOK OF FRANKIE PRATT: A Novel in Pictures," by Caroline Preston (f): Frankie Pratt is a young woman from New Hampshire who was given a scrapbook and a typewriter for her graduation in 1920. In this scrapbook, Frankie tells of staying home to help her mother, finding love and eventually going to school and Paris in search of adventure.

"VERDI'S SHAKESPEARE: Men of the Theater," by Garry Wills (nf): The examination of three operas, "Macbeth," "Othello" and "Falstaff," that were based on Shakespeare's plays.

"THE LANGUAGE WARS: A History of Proper English," by Henry Hitchings (nf): Exploring the disputes in the English language from Shakespeare to contemporary culture.

"THE FRIAR OF CARCASSONNE: Revolt Against the Inquisition in the Last Days of the Cathars," by Stephen O'Shea (nf): The story of a Franciscan friar, Bernard Delicieux, rallied a terrorized group of townspeople in a revolt against religious zealotry.

"LONG WAY TO TEXAS: Three Novels," by Elmer Kelton (f): The three Western adventure novels include: "Joe Pepper" — as the title character tells, how Pepper ended up on the wrong side of the law; "Long Way to Texas" — set just after the Civil War and the story of a remnant of Confederate riflemen who are under siege; and "Eyes of the Hawk" — the story of a man who doesn't easily forgive and will destroy the town before yielding to an insolent ranchman rival.

"EIGHT PIECES OF EMPIRE: A 20-Year Journey through the Soviet Collapse," by Lawrence Scott Sheets (nf): A foreign correspondent shares both professional and personal observations of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"THE SISTERS," by Nancy Jensen (f): Set in the Depression, two sisters are divided when good intentions go terribly wrong and a chain of misunderstandings follows that reverberates through their families, including their daughters and granddaughters.

"CHINA IN TEN WORDS," by Yu Hua, translated by Allan Barr (nf): Using 10 common phrases in Chinese vernacular, Yu Hua looks at the Chinese experience during the last few decades.

"BLACK & WHITE: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene 'Bull' Connor," by Larry Dane Brimmer (nf): A look at the lives of the men on either side of the chaos in the 1950s and 1960s in Birmingham, Ala.

PAPERBACKS

"THE STORY OF THIS IS THE PLACE HERITAGE PARK," This Is the Place Foundation, $13.99, 46 pages

This pictoral history of This Is the Place Historical Park includes both then and now photos of the some of the notable places in the park along with the current activities and traditions. This is avialable at the park's gift shop.

"TROUBLED TRAILS: The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado," by Robert Silbernagel, University of Utah Press, $24.95, 252 pages (nf): With details from historical interview transcripts and newspaper articles, the author delves into the characters — both Indian and non-Indian — and view of the events from varied perspectives of when the Ute killed the men at the Indian agency headed by Nathan Meeker and took women and children hostage.

"AS IF THE LAND OWNED US: An Ethnohistory of the White Mesa Utes," by Robert S. McPherson, University of Utah Press, $29.95, 432 pages (nf): The long and colorful history of the Ute people of White Mesa, who lived in the Four Corners region, based on interviews with tribal elders.

More paperbacks recently released:

"WONDERLAND CREEK," by Lynn Austin (f): When book-loving Alice Grace Ripley's boyfriend breaks up with her and she loses her library job due to the Great Depression, she delivers boxes of library books to small towns in eastern Kentucky where her plans change and she finds herself in the adventure of a lifetime.

"LOVE ON THE LINE," by Deeanne Gist (f): Georgie Gail is a switchboard operator in a rural town when she meets Luke Palmer, a Texas Ranger working undercover at the telephone company as he investigates a gang of train robbers.

"THE MERCY: The Rose Trilogy Part 3," by Beverly Lewis (f): In this Amish novel, Rose Kauffman is in love with Nick Franco, who left the Amish community under suspicion for his foster brother's death. Her sister, Hen, cares for her estranged "English" husband and wonders if they can find a middle ground with their two lifestyles.

"VALLEY OF DREAMS: Wild West Wind 1," by Lauraine Snelling (f): After the death of her parents, trick rider Cassie Lockwood leaves the "Wild West Show" when she finds out the new manager has run it into debt and goes to search for a hidden valley in North Dakota her father dreamed of settling in.

REPRINT

"CHILDREN OF FIRE: A History of African Americans," by Thomas C. Holt; "MAO'S GREAT FAMINE: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastophe, 1958-1962," by Frank Dikotter (nf)