Category Archives: Books

Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family of Brooklyn


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beer of broadway fameFor more than a century, New York City was the brewing capital of America, with more breweries producing more beer than any other city, including Milwaukee and St. Louis.

In Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family and Their Brooklyn Brewery (SUNY Press, 2016,) Alfred W. McCoy traces the hundred-year history of the prominent Brooklyn brewery Piel Bros., and provides an intimate portrait of the company’s German-American family.

Piel Bros. grew from Brooklyn’s smallest brewery in 1884, producing only 850 kegs, into the sixteenth-largest brewery in America, brewing over a million barrels by 1952. Continue reading

Knickerbocker Commodore: Life and Times of John Drake Sloat


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knickerbocker commodoreBruce Castleman’s new book, Knickerbocker Commodore: The Life and Times of John Drake Sloat 1781-1867 (SUNY Press, 2016) chronicles the life of Rear Admiral John Drake Sloat, an important but understudied naval figure in US history.

Born and raised by a slave-owning gentry family in New York’s Hudson Valley, Sloat moved to New York City at age nineteen.

Castleman explores Sloat’s forty-five-year career in the Navy, from his initial appointment as midshipman in the conflicts with revolutionary France to his service as commodore during the country’s war with Mexico. Continue reading

A New Collection of Essays About Adirondack History


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adirondack archangelsAfter more than a 25 years of protecting New York State’s alpine zone, the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program is being recognized in a new publication.

Adirondack Archangels: Guardians of the High Peaks, (Adirondack Mountain Club, 2016), is a collection of essays by and about individuals who have worked to protect the Adirondack Park and its highest peaks.

The collection is a tribute to the late Edwin H. “Ketch” Ketchledge, Ph.D., who in 1989 led the creation of the Summit Stewardship Program. It comprises thirty-nine essays and includes a foreword by celebrated writer Bill McKibben and over 250 photographs. Continue reading

A New Biography of Dr. E. L. Trudeau


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a rare romance in medicine book coverHistoric Saranac Lake has announced the release of a major biography of Dr. E. L. Trudeau by Mary B. Hotaling. The book, entitled A Rare Romance in Medicine: The Life and Legacy of Edward Livingston Trudeau, is now available to purchase from Historic Saranac Lake, and will soon be for sale in local bookstores.

The new biography expands upon Dr. Trudeau’s autobiography, published posthumously in 1915. The doctor’s great-great-grandson, Doonesbury Cartoonist Garry Trudeau, wrote the Foreword. Dr. Andrea Cooper, former Francis B. Trudeau Chair in Tuberculosis and Related Research at the Trudeau Institute, and Dr. Ian Orme, professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University, contributed the closing chapter. The final chapter sets Dr. Trudeau’s work in the context of the continuing study of the cellular immune response to TB. Continue reading

Jay O’Hern’s New Book On Adirondack Logging


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adirondack logging book coverJay O’Hearn’s new book, Adirondack Logging: Life and Time in the Early Years of Logging’s Mechanization (Versa Press 2016) portrays the timber-logging lives of lumberjacks in the “Glory Years” following the introduction of Linn log hauling tractors.

The book includes interviews with loggers, remembrances of lumber camp life, accounts of river drives, the passing of old-style logging with horses, remembrances of yesterday’s lumberjacks, and stories that accompany appetizing recipes.

Rare photographic images capture the scenes once common around lumber camps, centers of the logging industry built exclusively for the lumberjacks. Continue reading

Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldDid you know that George Washington’s favorite drink was whiskey?

Actually, it wasn’t.

Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira.

Why the false start to our weekly exploration of history?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, leads us on an exploration of rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/091

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With ‘Leaves Torn Asunder’ An Adirondack Historian Turns Novelist


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leaves torn asunder book coverAfter two award-winning Adirondack non-fiction histories, author Glenn L. Pearsall of Johnsburg has turned novelist.

Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War was published by Pyramid Press of Utica.

Inspired by true events, Leaves Torn Asunder portrays a time rarely covered in Adirondack literature. Pearsall’s research included soldier diaries and letters, town enlistment and cemetery records, regimental histories, and visits to the exact places on Civil War battle sites where local men fought and died. Continue reading

The Age of American Revolutions


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ben_franklins_worldThe American Revolution inspired revolutions in France, the Caribbean, and in Latin and South America between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries.

Naturally, Spanish and Portuguese American revolutionaries turned to the United States for assistance with their fights. How did Americans in the United States respond to these calls for assistance? What did they make of these other “American Revolutions?”

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Caitlin Fitz, an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University and the author of Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions (Liveright, 2016), helps us investigate answers to these questions. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/090

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Slavery and Freedom in Early Maryland


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ben_franklins_worldHow do you uncover the life of a slave who left no paper trail?

What can her everyday life tell us about slavery, how it was practiced, and how some slaves made the transition from slavery to freedom?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the life of Charity Folks, an enslaved woman from Maryland who gained her freedom in the late-18th century. Our guide through Charity’s life is Jessica Millward, an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine and author of Finding Charity’s Folk: Enslaved and Free Black Women in Maryland (University of Georgia Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/089

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