Do you know who Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore was?

I didn’t until I read “Jubilee!” by Alicia Potter. Subtitled “One Man’s Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace,” this tells us about a young man who loved music.

Gilmore grew up in Ireland, came to Boston in 1849 and became a band leader. During the Civil War, he kept up his and his comrades’ spirits with his music. He played at night and formed groups along the way.

After the war, he wanted to celebrate the peace with music. He decided to have a stupendous musical celebration. It would last five days and be in his home city of Boston. It would involve thousands of musicians.

Most people thought he was crazy, but Eban Jordan, who owned a department store, liked the idea and became his partner.

A huge hall named the Temple of Peace was built, and musicians from across the country came. Gilmore found 100 anvils and firemen to hammer them, got 12 cannons to fire, and the world’s largest pipe organ.

For five days, the music played and the people cheered. President Grant attended.

Wish I could have been there.

Kathryn Lasky brings us “One Beetle Too Many,” a chapter biography of Charles Darwin.

Darwin was not a good student, and his father wanted him to be a minister. He had other ideas as he loved the outdoors.

When he got the chance to sail on the HMS Beagle, he took it and spent five years sailing the world, collecting specimens and studying plants and animals and people along the way.

He also was seasick the entire voyage, coming up from below to be sick and going back down to study some more. He studied the things he saw and found that they were related but different.

His theory of evolution frightened the people who felt secure in their faith about creation.

He suffered from stomach problems throughout his life, probably from the abuse of the trip.

He changed our world.

“Electrical Wizard,” brought to us by Elizabeth Rusch, is subtitled “How Nikola Tesla Lit Up The World.”

Most of us think only of Thomas Edison when we think of electric lights. Edison perfected the light bulb but he insisted on a direct current for the electricity.

The night Tesla was born, there was an electrical storm. Intrigued at 3 years old by the sparks he created rubbing the cat, Tesla became enchanted by electricity. When he was 5, he discovered water power by making a wheel that the water would turn. In college, he thought of alternating current.

He moved to Paris and worked with some of Edison’s generators, working tirelessly to promote his method of alternating current, determined to put the water power of Niagara Falls to work to produce electricity. He invented the turbine and proved its worth at the Chicago World’s Fair, beating Edison for the contract.

This win for him and Westinghouse, the company that backed him, enabled him to work on generating power from the Falls, bringing us magical power.

Luci Hand is a retired school principal who lives in Porter County. Email her at ljbhand@comcast.net.