Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Book: Salt Lake City Olympic Bid Scandal

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.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Midnight Rising: New Book on John Brown

In his new book Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War, bestselling author Tony Horwitz tells the story of Adirondack abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

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.

Adirodnack Almanack founder John Warren wrote about the raid in a series of posts on in 2009.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Adirondack Classic Now Available in Paperback

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has released the third edition of The Adirondack Reader in paperback. The collection of writings about the Adirondacks, which is also available in hardcover, spans more than 400 years of the region’s history and literature and reflects our nation’s changing attitudes toward wilderness. Edited by the late Paul Jamieson with Neal Burdick, this edition includes the work of some 30 new writers as well as the classic entries of Adirondack explorers and philosophers for which the book is known. A glossy, 32-page, color insert features classic and contemporary Adirondack paintings, illustrations, etchings and photographs. The paperback edition retails for $24.95 and the hardcover lists for $39.95.

“Adirondack literature is an unparalleled mirror of the relations of Americans to the woods,” Jamieson writes. “This is a book about what Americans have sensed, felt, and thought about our unique heritage of wilderness.”

The release of the third edition in 2009 coincided with 400th anniversary of the voyages of Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson and the European discovery of the waterways that bear their names. The Adirondack Reader opens with Francis Parkman’s account of Champlain’s voyage. But much of the historical material is contemporary: Isaac Jogues on his capture by the Mohawks, Ethan Allen on the taking of Fort Ticonderoga, William James Stillman on the 1858 “Philosopher’s Camp” at Follensby Pond, and Bob Marshall on scaling 14 Adirondack peaks in a single day. The Adirondack Reader also features writings by James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, Theodore Dreiser, Joyce Carol Oates, Henry David Thoreau, Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Newcomers to the third edition include Bill McKibben, Russell Banks, Chris Jerome, Barbara McMartin, Elizabeth Folwell and Philip Terrie. Visual artists represented in its pages include Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Seneca Ray Stoddard and Harold Weston, as well as more contemporary artists such as Anne Diggory, Lynn Benevento, John Gallucci, Laura von Rosk and Don Wynn.

First published in 1964, The Adirondack Reader was lauded for its scope and its success in capturing and conveying the region’s spirit. Jamieson organized the collection into 10 sections and wrote an introduction for each that also imparts a great deal about the Adirondacks’ culture and character. His preface describes a place he knew well and gives readers a context for understanding the Adirondack Park’s unique role in the nation’s development and literature.

In the years that followed, Jamieson and editor Neal Burdick watched with interest the emergence of new voices in Adirondack writing. It is these authors, many of whom live in the region they write about (a marked change from earlier Reader contributors), who Jamieson and Burdick took particular care to include in the current edition. “There has been a remarkable flowering of writing about the Adirondacks in the last two and a half decades,” notes Burdick in his preface to the third edition. “A regional literature of the Adirondacks has come into its own.”

Neal Burdick is associate director of university communications for St. Lawrence University and editor-in-chief of Adirondac magazine. An essayist, reviewer, poet and fiction writer, his writing has appeared in numerous publications. Burdick is also past editor of ADK’s eight-volume Forest Preserve Series trail guides. A native of Plattsburgh, he holds a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Ph.D. in American studies with a concentration in environmental history from Case Western Reserve University.

Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, Paul Jamieson was inspired by the discovery of “uneven ground” in the nearby Adirondacks when he joined the faculty of St. Lawrence University in 1929. It was there, in Canton, that he became a hiker, paddler, author and prominent figure in regional and national preservation efforts. He is widely credited with the opening of many tracts of land and paddling routes to the public. Jamieson lived in Canton until his death in 2006 at the age of 103.

The Adirondack Reader is 544 pages and is available at book and outdoor supply stores, at ADK stores in Lake George and Lake Placid and through mail order by calling (800) 395-8080.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the New York Forest Preserve and other parks, wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation. ADK publishes more than 30 titles, including outdoor recreation guidebooks and maps and armchair traveler books, and conducts extensive trails, education, conservation and natural history programs. Profits from the sale of ADK publications help underwrite the cost of these programs. For more information, visit www.adk.org.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review of ‘The Climbing Dictionary’

I’m a Johnny-climb-lately. After moving to the Adirondacks, I spent most of my outdoors time hiking, backcountry skiing, or paddling. I had no interest in rock climbing—until I finally tried it a few years back.

I quickly discovered there’s a lot to learn apart from the techniques of actual climbing: rope management, gear placement, belaying, anchor building, rappelling, and how to open a beer bottle with a carabiner.

And the language. Like most sports, rock climbing has its own lingo. A bumbling climber is a “gumby”; a perfect climbing route is “splitter”; a route over “choss” (loose, friable rock) is “mungy”; and “deadpoint” is the apex of a “dyno,” or jump move.

All this can be bewildering to a newbie (or “n00b”) who encounters such terms for the first time in articles, books, and conversation. Thankfully, Mountaineers Books has published a guide for the perplexed: The Climbing Dictionary (softcover, $14.95) by Matt Samet, a veteran climber and writer.

The book defines more than 650 terms from rock climbing, bouldering, and mountaineering. Many of the definitions are illustrated by drawings by Mike Tea, an artist who works for Black Diamond, a manufacturer of cams, nuts, and other climbing gear.

In most cases, Samet does more than just define a word; he illustrates usage with humorous quotes and provides word histories that are like small windows onto the history of climbing itself. Did you know that before climbers wore helmets they sometimes protected their heads by stuffing mittens and newspapers under wool hats?

Many of the words are merely useful, such as the names for gear (ice screw, etrier, deadman anchor), but others exemplify the wry, irreverent outlook on life that seems indispensible to people who risk their necks for fun. For example, someone who “craters,” or hits the ground after a long fall, is likely to become “talus food.”

Samet captures this spirit in his definitions and exemplary quotations. Here’s his entry for blog-worthy: “Any rock you’ve ever climbed, videoed, and shot photos of … and uploaded to the Internet. In alpinism, any diversion, no matter how insignificant, from an existing climb is usually blog-worthy.”

Sometimes, though, the author strains too hard at humor, especially in his quotations. He illustrates the use of headlamp with the following: “Dave-o and Sha-Nay-Nay had to open a bivy a half-mile from the car because they spaced their headlamps; then wolves ate their faces off in the night.”

Never mind that the non-imbecilic have no need for a definition of headlamp; the quotation fails to illuminate meaning and it fails to amuse.

That’s OK … we all have our gumby moments. If you love climbing, you should enjoy this book.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. Click here to read his article about climbing Chapel Pond Slab.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Louise Gaylord Mystery Set in the Adirondacks

Known for her unexpected twists and well-researched storylines, Louise Gaylord features an Adirondack mystery in Dark Lake (Little Moose Press, 2011), the fourth installment of her nationally acclaimed Allie Armington series.

When asked why the Adirondacks is so special to her, Louise said, “The first time I came up here I hated it. My husband’s brother said we were going to the club. A club to me meant a place for a dress and heels. They took us out to a camp with no electricity or running water for five days. It was quite a shock and I didn’t want to come back. But then I came back again and again and again, for over 40 years. It became my heart’s home.”

In the new book the brave and intelligent Allie Armington returns after 15 years to her aunt’s cottage retreat in the Adirondack Mountains where she spent most of her childhood summers. She anticipates a happy reunion, but instead finds her Aunt Sallie dead, and a close-knit community trying to portray the tragedy as suicide to keep it out of the news. Allie must clear her aunt’s reputation, navigating her way around a compromised police department, wealthy neighbors with agendas, and a drug conspiracy that gets wackier every second.

Gaylord got the idea for the murder mystery series after spending three months on a grand jury panel in Texas. The series includes three prior novels to Dark Lake, with stories ranging from the Southwest (Anacacho and Spa Deadly) to New York (Xs).

Gaylord’s first Allie Armington Mystery, Anacacho, won the National Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Mystery/Suspense and many other awards. Gaylord divides her time between homes in Houston; Santa Barbara, California; and Old Forge, New York.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Adirondack Forest and Trees Field Guide Reprinted

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has released a revised reprint of Forests and Trees of the Adirondack High Peaks Region by the late Edwin H. Ketchledge. First published in 1967, this modest little field guide found favor with Adirondack hikers and naturalists and quickly became a classic. The new printing opens with a biography and tribute to Ketchledge, who died June 30, 2010, at his home in Potsdam.

An acclaimed naturalist and educator, Ketchledge set out to photograph and describe 34 species of Adirondack trees in response to a challenge from Jerome Wyckoff, a geologist and ADK member. The first publication of what was then called “Trees” prompted Ketchledge to expand the volume to reflect his own significantly broadened interests — interpreting the role of these species in the region’s ecology. Thus “Forests and Trees” was born, and with it a greater interest in “reading” the landscape. (Wyckoff’s own book, The Adirondack Landscape, was also published by ADK in 1967.)

“Forests and Trees of the Adirondack High Peaks Region” is 176 pages, 4 ½” x 6″, and includes over 70 photographs. It is available in softcover for $9.95 at book and outdoor supply stores, at ADK stores in Lake George and Lake Placid, and through mail order by calling (800) 395-8080.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to the protection of the New York State Forest Preserve. ADK is a nonprofit, membership organization that protects the Forest Preserve, state parks and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation. For more information about ADK, visit www.adk.org.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Books: The Loss of the Lake Champlain Bridge

In The Loss of the Lake Champlain Bridge: A Traveler’s Story, Jean Arleen Breed uses poetry and color photographs to chronicle the human story of struggle and the efforts to survive amidst the loss of a vital transportation link between New York State and Vermont.

After the tragic collapse of a Minneapolis bridge in August 2007 killed 13 people, inspections of infrastructure were begun across the country. The bridge connecting Crown Point, New York to Addison, Vermont was found to be deteriorating.

Two years later, it was discovered that the process had accelerated, causing transportation officials to reduce traffic on the bridge to a single lane while the necessary repairs were made to ensure the public’s safety.

In early October 2009, it was announced that the repairs would be completed within a week. But at the end of that week came the stunning announcement: the bridge was unsafe and was immediately closed to all traffic until further notice.

The closure deeply affected thousands of citizens who used the bridge daily to reach jobs and to gain access to health care facilities, grocery stores, and other necessities. Severely restricted traffic flow led to the closure of businesses on both sides of the lake and crippled tourism, a critical source of revenue in the Lake Champlain Corridor.

Several battles ensued over the funding; how to help those who were most affected by the closing; whether or not to replace the bridge; and the creation of a temporary substitute passage across the lake to save citizens from a daily detour of 100 miles.

Among those forced to use alternative routes was Jean Arleen Breed, who recorded the story in verse. The supportive efforts of “The Corridor Poet,” as she came to be known, were appreciated by citizens and politicians alike.

The book covers the wide range of emotions suffered by friends, neighbors, and families as they faced extreme difficulties.

The book is published by Almanack contributor Lawrence Gooley’s Bloated Toe Publishing. Purchases can be made here.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Books: Adirondack Hotels and Inns

The Adirondack region evolved over years from vast, impassable wilderness to a land of logging camps, tanneries, sawmills, and small settlements. By the end of the 19th century, the area grew again, becoming a tourist destination famed for its great hotels, quaint inns, cottages, and rustic cabins.

The hotels and inns spread throughout the Adirondacks, beginning after the Civil War and continuing during the Gilded Age between World Wars I and II. The region drew the rich and famous, as well as workers and families escaping the polluted cities. This volume contains 200 vintage images of those famed accommodations that catered to years of Adirondack visitors.

Although Most of the buildings seen in Adirondack Hotels and Inns”>Adirondack Hotels and Inns no longer exist, having been destroyed by fires, the wrecking ball, or simply forgotten over time, the book stills serves a guide to those old places on the landscape.

Author Donald R. Williams has written eight other books on the Adirondacks, among them The Adirondacks: 1830–1930, The Adirondacks: 1931–1990, Along the Adirondack Trail, and Adirondack Ventures, all in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Book on Adirondack CCC Camps

Marty Podskoch’s newest book Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Its History, Memories and Legacy of the CCC, is now available. The 352-page large-format book contains 185 interviews, over 50 charts and maps, and over 500 pictures and illustrations.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Camps were set up in many New York towns, state parks, and forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites and dams, stocked fish, built and maintained fire tower observer’s cabins and telephone lines, fought fires, and planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in World War II.

“My book is not a comprehensive history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, but the history of the 26 Adirondack CCC camps and the stories of the young men who left their homes to earn $25 a month to help their families survive during the Great Depression,” Podskoch notes in the book’s preface. “The reader will see how these young men developed a sense of worth. Many had only an eighth grade education and were wandering the countryside and city streets in search of a job. Once in the CCC they felt important, learned how to take orders, developed a love of nature, and learned a trade, all of which gave them a sense of self-worth. They knew they were helping their country and their families.”

Podskoch is also the author of five other books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, two volumes of Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore covering the Southern and Northern districts, and two other books, Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and Adirondack Stories II: 101 More Historical Sketches from his weekly illustrated newspaper column.

You can by the book in local stores for $20.00. It can also be purchased by contacting the author at (860-267-2442) or at 43 O’Neill Lane, East Hampton, CT 06424. Include $3 for shipping.

If you have information or pictures of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps, contact Marty Podskoch at: 36 Waterhole Rd., Colchester, CT 06415 or 860-267-2442, or [email protected]

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Children’s Book by Gordie Little

Gordie Little of Clinton County spent 30+ years on local radio, more than 10 years as a Press Republican columnist, and 15 years doing weekly shows of regional interest on local cable television – now he has a new children’s book published by Bloated Toe Publishing.

Publisher and Almanack contributor Larry Gooley says Little Champy Goes to School is about two things: the story of the family of Lake Champlain’s most famous cryptid and a remembrance of two the bridges that have spanned Lake Champlain at Crown Point. Illustrations of both bridges appear in color on the covers and in black-and-white within the book’s pages.

Little Champy Goes to School is about how Little Champy learns to undulate, critically important for sea serpents and lake monsters. Supported by his mother Mama Champy, his father Big Champy, and his grandfather Old Champy, Little Champy attends school far beneath the Lake Champlain Bridge in preparation for the big test of the surface swim. His teacher is Aunt Champanella, who works hard to teach her students what they’ll need to know, especially about undulating.

The book is available at Bloated Toe Publishing online store.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Adirondack Family Time Guidebook

A new guidebook outlining family activities in the Adirondack Park has been authored by Adirondack Almanack contributor Diane Chase of Bloomingdale. Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes & High Peaks Regions, is a comprehensive guide to over 300 activities perfect for families. The first of four books planned to be published by Hungry Bear Publishing in Saranac Lake, the Tri-Lakes/High Peaks edition targets four seasons of family activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Jay, Upper Jay, Keene, Keene Valley and Wilmington with a foreword by local author Edward Kanze.

Based on Chase’s Adirondack Daily Enterprise weekly “Family Time” column, her Adirondack Family Time blog, and her contributions here at the Almanack, Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes & High Peaks Regions is a guide for anyone wanting to discover ideas on how to entertain family, friends and visitors while in the Adirondack Park. The points of interest also include GPS coordinates.

“This book is designed to be used by everyone, not just those with children,” Chase said. “My family and I have been to each activity listed in this book and walked, skied or snow-shoed each trail. The goal is to give people ideas on the many things to do in the Adirondack Park.”

The 176-page softcover book has maps, photos, trivia, and information to find museums, activity centers, performing arts centers, and farmers’ markets, as well as swimming holes, mini-hikes and mini-snowshoe/ski treks. Further broken down by season, this guide provides ideas on ways to entertain every day of the week, whether the readers are single, a couple or a group.

“Diane is a master at connecting families with fun, exciting and educational opportunities in the Adirondack Park,” said Andy Flynn, owner of Hungry Bear Publishing. “What sets her apart from other guidebook writers is her proximity to the subject; she lives the ‘Family Time’ lifestyle every day. She’s taking experiences with her family and sharing it with others in a useful, easy-to-follow way.”

Chase started searching and writing about Adirondack family activities in 2003 while pregnant with her second child with eldest in tow. She has written for newspapers, magazines, marketing and advertising agencies.

Chase’s first Adirondack Family Time, is a great guide for exploring the Adirondacks with kids in tow. Handy maps and GPS coordinates are combined with insider tips, pricing, and age appropriate ratings for places and activities. The opportunities here have been carefully selected to hold the interest of kids and this guide is written with a real knowledge of what kids (and adults) want out of their nature experiences. No doubt this is one book that’s sure to be passed from parent to parent.

Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes & High Peaks Regions is available at local bookstores and online at the Adirondack Family Time website for $17.95 plus tax and shipping.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Book: Sport of Kings, Kings of Crime

A new book, The Sport of Kings and the Kings of Crime: Horse Racing, Politics, and Organized Crime in New York, 1865-1913 by Steven A. Riess, fills a long-neglected gap in sports history, offering a detailed and fascinating chronicle of thoroughbred racing’s heyday and its connections with politics and organized crime.

Thoroughbred racing was one of the first major sports in early America. Horse racing thrived because it was a high-status sport that attracted the interest of both old and new money. It grew because spectators enjoyed the pageantry, the exciting races, and, most of all, the gambling.

As the sport became a national industry, the New York metropolitan area, along with the resort towns of Saratoga Springs and Long Branch (New Jersey), remained at the center of horse racing with the most outstanding race courses, the largest purses, and the finest thoroughbreds.

Riess narrates the history of horse racing, detailing how and why New York became the national capital of the sport from the mid-1860s until the early twentieth century. The sport’s survival depended upon the racetrack being the nexus between politicians and organized crime.

The powerful alliance between urban machine politics and track owners enabled racing in New York to flourish. Gambling, the heart of racing’s appeal, made the sport morally suspect. Yet democratic politicians protected the sport, helping to establish the State Racing Commission, the first state agency to regulate sport in the United States.

At the same time, racetracks became a key connection between the underworld and Tammany Hall, enabling illegal poolrooms and off-course bookies to operate. Organized crime worked in close cooperation with machine politicians and local police officers to protect these illegal operations.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Herkimer County During the Civil War: Upton’s Regulars

In 1861, New Yorkers responded to President Lincoln’s call to service by volunteering in droves to defend an imperiled Union. Drawn from the farms and towns of Otsego and Herkimer counties, the 121st New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment served with the Sixth Corps in the Army of the Potomac throughout the Civil War. In the first comprehensive history of the regiment in nearly ninety years, Salvatore Cilella chronicles their epic story.

Led for much of the war by Emory Upton, the 121st deployed nearly 1,900 men into battle, from over 1,000 at call-up to the 330 who were finally mustered out of its war-depleted unit. Its soldiers participated in 25 major engagements, from Antietam to Sailor’s Creek, won six Medals of Honor, took several battle flags, led the charge at Spotsylvania, and captured Custis Lee at Sailor’s Creek. Cilella now tells their story, viewing the war through upstate New Yorkers’ eyes not only to depict three grueling years of fighting but also to reveal their distinctive attitudes regarding slavery, war goals, politics, and the families they left behind.

Cilella mines the letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches of more than 120 soldiers and officers to weave a compelling narrative that traces the 121st from enlistment through the horrors of battle and back to civilian life. Their words recount the experience of combat, but also rail against Washington bureaucrats and commanding generals.

Cilella also features portraits of the regiment’s three commanders: original recruiter Richard Franchot; West Pointer Upton, by whose name the 121st came to be known; and Otsego County native Egbert Olcott. Readers will especially gain new insights into the charismatic Upton, who took command at the age of 23 and became one of the army’s most admired regimental leaders.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dave Gibson on Birding: The Tale of the Veery

Summer has flown. Bird song no longer greets our sunrise. Many Adirondack migratory songbirds are starting to fly to their wintering grounds in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands this month. I take account of one very familiar bird I really missed this summer. Since we moved to Saratoga County in 1984, the flute-like, descending song of the male Veery ( Ve-urr, Ve-urr, Ve-urr) penetrated from our woodlands, beginning in late May and lasting well through the summer. The bird bred and raised young here for at least 25 years, and probably for centuries before that.

Veery, one of our familiar upstate thrushes, was a constant in our summer lives until this year when I only began to hear Veery in our woods in mid- July, long after this species usually nests. Its immediate habitat hadn’t changed. With this 50-acre patch of forest habitat more or less unchanged, I conjecture there were simply fewer breeding Veery in the area to fill its favorable habitat, and a non-breeding adult came to these woods late in their season. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History

A new book, Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, was published this spring by The History Press. Written by Joseph W. Zarzynski and Bob Benway, the book is a collection their columns previously published in the Lake George Mirror along with additional material. Zarzynski and Benway helped establish Bateaux Below, which works to preserve shipwreck sites in Lake George.

The depths of Lake George hold an incredible world of shipwrecks and lost history. Zarzynski and archeological diver Bob Benway present the most intriguing discoveries among more than two hundred known shipwreck sites. Entombed are remnants of Lake George’s important naval heritage, such as the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau, considered America’s oldest intact warship. Other wrecks include the steam yacht Ellide, and excursion boat Scioto, and the first Minne-Ha-Ha (including some new findings). Additional stories include an explanation behind the 1926 disappearance of two hunters, John J. Eden and L. D. Greene, of Middletown, and pieces on the lake’s logging history and marine railways.



Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.