Category Archives: Books

Benjamin Franklin in London


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ben_franklins_worldOver the course of his long life, Benjamin Franklin traveled to and lived in London on two different occasions. The first time he went as a teenager. The second as a man and colonial agent. All told he spent nearly 18 years living in the heart of the British Empire.

How did Franklin’s experiences in London shape his opportunities and view of the world?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, George Goodwin, author of Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us on an exploration of Franklin’s life in London. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/086

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Bruce Dearstyne Wins AASLH Leadership in History Award


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the spirit of new yorkThe American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) have announced that Bruce W. Dearstyne is the recipient of an Award of Merit for the book The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State’s History, published by SUNY Press. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 71st year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Continue reading

Shirley Dunn’s New Book: Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers


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Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers (2)Although it played a highly significant role in the settling and development of the Capital Region, Fort Crailo, the birthplace of “Yankee Doodle” and the manorial seat for generations for one branch of the Van Rensselaer family, remains relatively little known, even within the Capital Region itself.

Shirley W. Dunn’s new book, Fort Crailo and the Van Rensselaers: The Dutch Colonial Origins of Greenbush & the City of Rensselaer (Black Dome Press, 2016) traces the history of Crailo and the Van Rensselaers from the years leading up to the building of Fort Crailo in 1663, through the war years and through the many additions and renovations over the centuries and generations of Van Rensselaers, to the present day in its role as the museum of Dutch history in the Hudson River Valley. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne’s Spirit of New York


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the spirit of new yorkIn his new book, Bruce W. Dearstyne presents New York State history by exploring sixteen dramatic events. From the launch of the state government in April 1777 to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, these events altered the course of state and US history.

Chapters describe great political changes, historical turning points, and struggles for social, racial, and environmental reform. Continue reading

Witherill Hotel Plattsburgh Presentation June 14th


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welcome to the witherill susan hamlinJoin the Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) on Tuesday, June 14th at the Plattsburgh Public Library for a book signing and encore presentation of Welcome to the Witherill with Sue Howell Hamlin.

The presentation features rarely seen photographs of Plattsburgh’s Witherill Hotel and its owners, the Howell family, in addition to stories from Sue regarding her time spent as a child living at the hotel. Continue reading

Slavery in Colonial Boston


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ben_franklins_worldColonial Bostonians practiced slavery. But slavery in Boston looked very different than slavery in the American south or in the Caribbean.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Jared Hardesty, an Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University and author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (NYU Press, 2016), takes us on a tour of slavery, and the lives enslaved people lived, in colonial Boston. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/083

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Information & Communication in the Early American South


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ben_franklins_worldWe live in an age of information. The internet provides us with 24/7 access to all types of information—news, how-to articles, sports scores, entertainment news, and congressional votes.

But what do we do with all of this knowledge? How do we sift through and interpret it all?

We are not the first people to ponder these questions.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Alejandra Dubcovsky, an Assistant Professor at Yale University and author of Informed Power: Communication in the Early South (Harvard University Press, 2016), takes us through the early American south and how the Native Americans, Europeans, and enslaved Africans who lived there acquired, used, and traded information. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/082

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After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for Independence


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ben_franklins_worldWhen did the fighting of the American War for Independence end?

In school we learn that the war came to an end at Yorktown. But, this lesson omits all of the fighting that took place after Charles, Earl Cornwallis’ surrender in October 1781.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Don Glickstein, author of After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence (Westholme Publishing, 2015), takes us on a whirlwind and global tour of the fighting that took place after Yorktown. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/081

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Prisons And Prison Life in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldAmerican prisons are overcrowded. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and nearly 2.5 million Americans are serving prison sentences.

Nearly all politicians agree that we need to reform the American prison system, but they disagree on how to do it.  Can gaining historical perspective on this present-day problem help us solve it?

in this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate early American prisons and prison life with Jen Manion, an Assistant Professor of History at Connecticut College and author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/080

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New Biography of Playboy, Yachtsman Gordon Bennett


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gordon bennett book coverAfter a drunken evening in New York’s lavish Union Club, three of the richest men in America made a bet that would change the course of yachting history. Six men died in the brutal first race across the Atlantic, turning the perception of yachting from gentleman’s pursuit to rugged adventure. The $90,000 prize (about $15 million today) helped to herald the “gilded age” of America.

Sam Jefferson’s new book Gordon Bennett and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic (Bloomsbury, 2016) tells the tale of James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the playboy son of the New York Herald multi-millionaire. Continue reading