Category Archives: Books

New York Exposed: The Lexow Committee


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new-york-exposed-book-coverDaniel Czitrom’s new book New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal that Launched the Progressive Era (Oxford University Press, 2016) offers a narrative history of the Lexow Committee, which the author considers the first major crusade to clean up Gotham.

Czitrom tells this story within the larger contexts of national politics, poverty, patronage, vote fraud and vote suppression, and police violence. The effort to root out corrupt cops and crooked politicians morphed into something much more profound: a public reckoning over what New York had become since the Civil War. Continue reading

New York’s Historic Inns, Restaurants, and Taverns


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nys-historic-restaurants-inns-and-tavernsNew York’s Historic Inns, Restaurants, and Taverns (Globe Pequot Press, 2016) explores the history of over forty institutions throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley that are still in existence today. Travel to the tavern where George Washington hosted a farewell dinner for his officers at the close of the American Revolution. Eat steak at one of the city’s oldest steakhouses. Rest your head in one of the original houses built by Dutch colonists in the Hudson Valley. Part historical record and part travelogue, the book tells tales about the region’s most historical and storied establishments. Continue reading

The American Enlightenment & Cadwallader Colden


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ben_franklins_worldWe’ve heard that the American Revolution took place during a period called “the Enlightenment.” But what was the Enlightenment?

Was it an intellectual movement? A social movement? A scientific movement?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, John Dixon, an Assistant Professor of History at CUNY-College of Staten Island, leads us on an exploration of the Enlightenment by taking us through the life of Cadwallader Colden, the subject of his book The Enlightenment of Cadwallader Colden: Empire, Science, and Intellectual Culture in British New York (Cornell University Press, 2016). You can listen to this episode here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/109

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‘City On Fire’ Novelist Garth Risk Hallberg Reading Tuesday


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city-on-fireGarth Risk Hallberg will discuss and read from his international bestseller City on Fire (2015) at 8 pm on Tuesday, November 29 in University of Albany’s Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue in Albany.

His debut novel was named one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue.

City on Fire is set in New York City and spans a seven month period between New Year’s Eve 1976 through the city’s blackouts in July of 1977. The story revolves around a varied web of characters — two estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; two suburban teenagers involved in Manhattan’s punk scene; a magazine reporter; and a detective — whose lives interconnect around a shooting in Central Park. Continue reading

New Book: Northern Men with Southern Loyalties


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northern-men-with-southern-loyaltiesIn the decade before the Civil War, Northern Democrats, although they represented antislavery and free-state constituencies, made possible the passage of such pro-slavery legislation as the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and the Lecompton Constitution of 1858.

In Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell University Press, 2016) author Michael Todd Landis contends that a full understanding of the Civil War and its causes is impossible without a careful examination of Northern Democrats and their proslavery sentiments and activities. Continue reading

New Book: An Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters


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an-oneida-indian-in-foreign-watersAn Oneida Indian in Foreign Waters: The Life of Chief Chapman Scanandoah 1870–1953 (Syracuse University Press, 2016) by Laurence M. Hauptman is a biography of Chief Chapman Scanandoah, a decorated Navy veteran who served in the Spanish-American War, a skilled mechanic, and a prizewinning agronomist who helped develop the Iroquois Village at the New York State Fair.

He was also a historian, linguist, philosopher, and early leader of the Oneida land claims movement. However, his fame among the Oneida people and among many of his contemporaries today rests with his career as an inventor. Continue reading

The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright


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ben_franklins_worldColonial America comprised many different cultural and political worlds. Most colonial Americans inhabited in just one world, but today, we’re going to explore the life of a woman who lived in THREE colonial American worlds: Frontier New England, Northeastern Wabanaki, and Catholic New France.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Ann Little, an Associate Professor of History at Colorado State University and the author of The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us through the remarkable life of Esther Wheelwright, a woman who experienced colonial America as a Puritan New English girl, Wabanaki daughter, and Ursuline nun in Catholic New France. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/108

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Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention


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ben_franklins_worldWhen politicians, lawyers, and historians discuss the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they often rely on two sources: The promotional tracts collectively known as the Federalist Papers and James Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention.

But what do we know about Madison’s Notes?

Did Madison draft them to serve as a definitive account of the Constitutional Convention?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore James Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention with award-winning legal historian Mary Sarah Bilder, the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College and author of Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/107

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The World of John Singleton Copley


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ben_franklins_worldWhat can the life of an artist reveal about the American Revolution and how most American men and women experienced it?

The Ben Franklin’s World podcast explores the life and times of John Singleton Copley with Jane Kamensky, a Professor of History at Harvard University and the author of A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (W.W. Norton & Co, 2016) You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/106

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