The Appalachian Mountain Club recently published a multi-sport guidebook for the Adirondack Park, and one outdoor enthusiast is not happy about it.
Written by Peter Kick, Discover the Adirondackscovers twenty-six hikes, thirteen canoe trips, and eleven bike rides throughout the Adirondack Park, with accompanying maps and black-and-white photos. It also includes a number of short essays on natural and human history. It sells for $18.95.
With any book like this, of course, you can and often do quibble with the author’s choices. Did he really need to include Mount Jo and Cascade, which already see tons of traffic? Why didn’t he include any paddling options in the High Peaks Region—such as Henderson Lake and the Chubb River?
Lake Champlain was a corridor for warfare beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s exploration, but perhaps no moment in the Champlain Valley was as important as the Battle of Plattsburgh, something recognized by both Roosevelt and Churchill. Although other, more famous, engagements of the War of 1812 were ruses meant to divert U.S. troops away from the prize – Plattsburgh. The Chesapeake Campaign for example, which included the British capture of Washington, DC, the bombardment of Fort McHenry captured in the National Anthem, was intended, as Donald Graves notes, “as a large raid to draw off American troops from the northern theatre of the war.”
The northern theatre, which saw the most desperate fighting and bloodiest engagements of the war, was the pathway to cut the colonies in half. Not surprisingly, the battles at Plattsburgh, are considered by historians to have been crucial to securing peace between Great Britain and America in 1814. Author Keith Herkalo retells stories of the battles at Plattsburgh in a concise and readable narrative, The Battles of Plattsburgh: September 11, 1814 (2012, History Press). » Continue Reading.
When Sally Svenson, a summer resident of Upper Saranac Lake and occasional contributor to Adirondack Life magazine, was writing Adirondack Churches: A History of Design and Building (2006, North Country Books) she stumbled upon the life of Eliza Warren Price, known as Lily, Duchess of Marlborough.
Lily, who was born in Troy, NY in 1854, was reported in an old history to have provided the funds for a chapel at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lake Luzerne. That turned out to be a questionable assertion, but Svenson found Lily’s obituary in the New York Times and was hooked on her incredible life story which is told in Lily, Duchess of Marlborough (1854-1909): A Portrait with Husbands (2011, Dog Ear Publishing).
Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill, was one. Consuelo Vanderbilt, wife of Winston’s cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, was another. But it is not widely known that there were three American women who married into the illustrious Churchill family of England in the last third of the nineteenth century. Lily was the third. Sister-in-law to Jennie and stepmother to Consuelo, she was, for a brief four years, the reigning Duchess of Marlborough and chatelaine of Blenheim, the Churchill family seat in Oxfordshire, and among the most stately homes in Great Britain. » Continue Reading.
Writers, editors, publishers, and book lovers gathered at the Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake on Sunday to hear the announcements of the Adirondack Center for Writing’s (ACW’s) annual Adirondack Literary Award winners.
The Adirondack Literary Awards celebrate and acknowledge the books that were written by Adirondack authors or published in the region in the previous year. » Continue Reading.
Regular Adirondack Almanack and New York History contributor Lawrence P. Gooley has published a new collection of his stories in Adirondack & North Country Gold: 50+ New & True Stories You’re Sure to Love (2012, Bloated Toe Publishing). Gooley, whose diligence in local publishing is only matched by his research and storytelling acumen, has collected 343 pages worth of his finest short historical essays, some of which have never been published. “This could well have been two books, and possibly three (it’s well over 100,000 words), but I wanted to do a big collection,” Gooley said.
Chapters 5, 15, 25, and 35 are the book’s anchor pieces: they’re longer stories of some truly amazing North Country natives. Chapter 15, the story of local cluster -balloonist and daredevil Garrett Cashman, earned Gooley a mention in Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine. Those familiar with Gooley’s Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune (which won the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction in 2008), or his regional best seller Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, will be at home with Gooley’s folksy and comfortable storytelling style, his deep appreciation for in-depth research, and his uncanny ability to know a great story when he sees one. » Continue Reading.
Glenn L. Pearsall’s Echoes in these Mountains, is subtitled “Historic Sites and Stories Disappearing in Johnsburg, an Adirondack Community,” but thanks to Pearsall, a tireless advocate for local history, those historic sites and stories are being remembered.
The geography of Johnsburg, the largest township in New York State, is central to Echoes in these Mountains. The book is arranged in chapters highlighting various historic sites, all with handy maps to help locate them on the landscape. That approach – locating historical stories around town on the landscape – is part of what drives Pearsall’s personal exploration of his town’s history, and what led to the answer to an interesting historical question. » Continue Reading.
A short booklet, From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in new York’s Champlain Valley published by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and the Lake to Locks Passage Scenic Byway highlights the rich history of the Champlain Valley with a focus on the region’s farms and fields.
From Forests to Fields is authored by Anita Deming, who has more than 30 years experience as an agricultural extension agent with CCE, and Andrew Alberti, Program Manager for Lakes to Locks Passage since 2008 (where he focuses on 21st century technology applications and local and regional interpretation and planning). Alberti is also editor for the Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website. » Continue Reading.
When it was first published The Interpreter: A Story of Two Worlds (SUNY Press, 1997) was called, “a vibrant tale of courage and adventure” by Booklist and, “rich in historical detail and meticulously researched” by Publishers Weekly. Written by Robert Moss, the book is the third in the Cycle of the Iroquois trilogy and will become the final book to be available in paperback from SUNY Press.
The book is a journey into the crucible in which America was born and a tale of love and war that shares the story of a master shaman and his twin apprentices — the Mohawk dreamer called Island Woman and the young immigrant Conrad Weise – who become critical players in their peoples’ struggle for survival. » Continue Reading.
In The Mindful Carnivore (Pegasus Books, 2012), Tovar Cerulli traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy from veganism to hunting. As a boy, Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself heading into the woods, rifle in hand.
Through his personal quest, Cerulli bridges these disparate worldviews and questions moral certainties. Are fishing and hunting barbaric, murderous anachronisms? Or can they be respectful ways for humans to connect with nature (and their food)? How harmless is vegetarianism? Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? » Continue Reading.
Fourth generation Adirondacker Nancy Pulling Best has written a short book of Adirondack food stories and recipes. Learning to Cook Adirondack recalls the friends and family who taught her to cook and bake. This little book is a treasure of nearly 50 local recipes with profiles of the men and women who contributed them from around the Old Forge region.
Nancy Pulling Best will lead a free lecture on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at View from 1-3 pm at 3273 State Route 28 in Old Forge. Participants will sample recipes from her new cookbook and signed copies will be available for purchase. Call 315.369.6411 for more information or visit www.viewarts.org.
The book can also be purchased online at nancydidit.com in addition to Adirondack book stores.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.
The rise of local and specialist history publishers such as Arcadia and History Press has been a boon to local history and an opportunity part-time writers and historians to have their work published outside the vanity press.
One of those part-timers is George Kapusinski, long time denizen of Huletts Landing on Lake George and publisher of The Huletts Current blog. His second effort for History Press (his previous work Huletts Landing on Lake George was published by Arcadia) has just been published, and it’s a fascinating and well-written account of the devastating fire at the Hulett Hotel 1915.
Even more revealing is the well-researched tale of the trial held in the aftermath of the fire. » Continue Reading.
Although it has taken a backseat to the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and has been largely forgotten outside the areas it was fought, this year marks the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. In the reissued The American Invasion of Canada: The War of 1812’s First Year (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012), Pierre Berton transforms history into an engrossing narrative that reads like a fast-paced novel. To America’s leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be “a mere matter of marching,” as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of eight million Americans fail to subdue a struggling British colony of 300,000 already enmeshed in a life and death struggle with the armies (and navies) of Napoleon? Burton is deft at describing the mood of the nation at the outbreak of war, and lends a well-needed dose of Canadian perspective. The War of 1812, he says, was “the war that Canada won, or to put it more precisely did not lose, by successfully repulsing the armies that tried to invade and conquer British North America. The war was fought almost entirely in Upper Canada, whose settlers, most of the Americans, did not not invite the war, did not care about the issues, and did not want to fight.”
Drawing on primary sources such as memoirs, diaries, letters and official dispatches, Pierre Berton gets inside the characters of the men who fought the war, from common soldiers to generals, bureaucrats, profiteers, traitors, and loyalists. Berton is at his best when describing the lives and motives of individual soldiers and politicians, an effort he doesn’t accomplish as well for Native American warriors who were as much a part of the story of the War of 1812.
This shortcoming is perhaps understood, considering Berton’s relaince on primary written sources, few of which are Native American. And it is outweighed to some extent by the author’s broad inclusion of lesser battles, attacks and massacres in which Native Americans played the key role. Still, his “Cast of Characters” list precious few Native American names: Tenskwatawa, “The Prophet”; Tecumseh, the Shawnee killed in the Battle of the Thames, in October 1813, who is considered one of Native America’s most important political leaders; the Wyandot Chief Roundhead; and the Mohawk Chief John Brant, the son of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) who was instrumental in stopping an American attack at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1812. Overall however, this book is a fascinating popular history of a complex war from an outstanding historian; the first of two volumes. His second work in the series, Flames Across the Border, picks up where this account ends.
Pierre Berton was an internationally renowned bestselling author of fifty books including Vinny, Klondike, and The Last Spike, and the recipient of over thirty literary awards including three Governor General’s Awards for Creative Non-Fiction. He was raised in Yukon (he was Chancellor of Yukon College), served almost four years in the army, was an editor at the Toronto Star, and a writer and host of CBC programs (and a member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame).
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
Georgia Pellegrini isn’t the typical image of a hunter. She was once more accustomed to martini on Wall Street than a back woods duck hunt, but after a stint at Wellesley and Harvard she enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and discovered a love for local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine that led her down an unexpected path.
While cooking with top chefs at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, Pellegrini was sent outside to kill five turkeys for that night’s dinner. Suddenly face-to-face with the meat she was preparing, she says she was forced to reevaluate her relationship with food. The result is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Press, 2011).
The book chronicles Pellegrini’s evolution from buying plastic-wrapped meat at a supermarket to killing a wild boar with a .22-250 caliber rifle, a journey, she says, toward understanding not only where our food comes from, but what kind of life it lived before it reached the table. » Continue Reading.
In late 1998 and the early months of 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was an organization in crisis. Revelations of a slush fund employed by Salt Lake City officials to secure votes from a number of IOC members in support of the city’s bid for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games invited intense scrutiny of the organization by the international media.
The IOC and its president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, staggered through the opening weeks of the scandal, but ultimately Samaranch and key actors such as IOC Vice–President Richard Pound, Marketing Director Michael Payne, and Director General François Carrard weathered the storm, safeguarded the IOC’s autonomy, and subsequently spearheaded the push for reforms to the Olympic Charter intended to better position the IOC for the twenty–first century. In Tarnished Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal (Syracuse University Press, 2011), the authors delve into this fascinating story, exploring the genesis of the scandal and charting the IOC’s efforts to bring stability to its operations. Based on extensive research and unique access to primary source material, the authors offer a behind–the–scenes account of the politics surrounding the IOC and the bidding process. Wenn, Barney, and Martyn’s potent examination of this critical episode in Olympic history and of the presidency of Samaranch, who brought sweeping change to the Olympic Movement in the 1980s and 1990s, offers lessons for those interested in the IOC, the Olympic Movement, and the broader concepts of leadership and crisis management.
About the authors:
Stephen Wenn is professor of kinesiology and physical education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He, Robert Barney, and Scott Martyn are the authors of Selling the Five Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism.
Robert Barney is professor emeritus of kinesiology and the founding director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.
Scott Martyn is associate professor of human kinetics and founding director of the International Centre for Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
Late on the night of October 16, 1859, Adirondack abolitionist John Brown led 18 well-armed men on a raid of the federal armory and arsenal at Harpers Ferry and sparked a nationwide uprising against slavery. The principal goal of the raid was to free slaves, not attack and hold a Southern state. The plan was simple: capture about 100,000 muskets and rifles, ammunition, and other supplies from the lightly guarded federal facilities at Harpers Ferry, retire to the countryside and carry out nighttime raids to free Southern slaves. The raider’s believed the southern harvest fields would be filled with disgruntled and overworked slaves bringing in the crops, a perfect opportunity to turn them to revolt. The raid might have succeeded, had Brown not made a serious error in allowing an eastbound Baltimore & Ohio train the raiders had captured to proceed. The conductor alerted the main B & O office that abolitionists were attempting to free the area’s slaves. The word was immediately taken to B & O president John W. Garrett, who notified US President James Buchanan, Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise, and Major General George H. Stewart of the Maryland Volunteers that a slave insurrection was underway in Harpers Ferry. The worst fear of the southern slaveholders seemed to be at hand.
By about noon Brown’s last chance to escape into the countryside came and went – he was in command of the bridges, and held about 35 prisoners. Armed locals arrived and organized a makeshift attack with their own hunting guns. Then two militia companies arrived from nearby Charles Town – together they stormed the bridges and drove the half dozen or so of Brown’s men guarding them back.
Five raiders were captured alive. Seven initially escaped and five of them made it to ultimate freedom in the north; four later served in the Civil War. Ten men were killed. All but two were buried in a common grave on the Shenandoah River, across from Harpers Ferry. The lest resting place of Jeremiah Anderson remains unknown. Watson Brown’s body was given to Winchester Medical College where it remained until Union troops recovered it during the Civil War and burned the school in reprisal.
Brown was charged with murder, conspiring with slaves to rebel, and treason against Virginia (West Virginia was not yet a state) and after a week-long trial was sentenced to death in early November. He was hanged on December 2nd (John Wilkes Booth sneaked in to watch) and his body was afterward carried to North Elba in Essex County to “moulder in his grave.”
Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. He also wrote Confederates in the Attic, the outstanding look at the Civil War’s continued legacy in the South. Midnight Rising follows John Brown’s plot from its very inception to the savage battle, and then to its aftermath as it galvanizes the North and pushes the South closer to secession.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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