Category Archives: Books

The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy


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ben_franklins_worldIf early Americans desired slaves mostly to produce sugarcane, cotton, rice, indigo, and tobacco, what would happen if Europeans and early Americans stopped purchasing those products?

Would boycotting slave-produced goods and starving slavery of its economic sustenance be enough to end the practice of slavery in North America?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Julie Holcomb, an Associate Professor of Museum Studies at Baylor University and author of Moral Commerce: The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy (Cornell University Press, 2016), helps us explore answers to these questions by leading us through the transatlantic boycott of slave produced goods. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/135

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Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America


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ben_franklins_worldIn Colonial America, clergymen stood as thought leaders in their local communities. They stood at the head of their congregations and many community members looked to them for knowledge and insight about the world around them.

So what happened to these trusted, educated men during the American Revolution? How did they choose their political allegiances? And what work did they undertake to aid or hinder the revolutionary cause?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Spencer McBride, an editor at the Joseph Smith Papers documentary editing project, joins us to explore some of the ways politics and religion intersected during the American Revolution with details from his book, Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America (University of Virginia, 2017). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/134

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New Book: Upstate Uncovered


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upstate uncovered book coverChuck D’Imperio’s new book Upstate Uncovered: 100 Unique, Unusual, and Overlooked Destinations in Upstate New York (SUNY Press, 2017) shares an array of fun and amazing places in Upstate New York that the casual traveler might otherwise miss.

As one of Upstate’s most ardent advocates, D’Imperio has traveled the backroads and byways of the region seeking out the stories, tales, and folklore writ upon the landscape. He takes readers to one hundred small towns and cities from the Hudson Valley to the High Peaks of the Adirondacks and out through the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes region. Not only a reflection of “the road less traveled,” Upstate Uncovered includes pertinent information such as websites, photographs, personal interviews, and explicit directions to each of the included entries. Continue reading

Lakes to Locks Passage: New York’s Great Northeast Journey


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Lakes to Locks Passage has completed the third in the series of Waterways of War guidebooks. Waterways of War: The Turning Point of the American Revolution focuses on the 1777 northern campaign of British General John Burgoyne. The book is also the centerpiece of a broader initiative to develop the Turning Point Trail, a narrated driving tour from Plattsburgh to Albany. Continue reading

New Book: John Apperson’s Lake George


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john appersons lake george A new book by Ellen Apperson Brown, John Apperson’s Lake George (Arcadia Publishing, 2017), offers a significant collection of many Apperson photos published for the first time.

Writing from Virginia where John Apperson spent much of his youth, Ellen Apperson Brown has compiled a collection of captioned photos, along with an introductory essay that reveals much of the public, and private, life of her great uncle, who had such a large impact on protecting Lake George and the Adirondacks.
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New Book On Wayne County Underground Railroad


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Marjory Allen Perez, former Wayne County Historian, has announced the completion of her new book, Final Stop, Freedom!: The Underground Railroad Experience in Wayne County, New York (Herons Bend Productions, 2017).

The book includes biographical sketches of men and women who boarded the Underground Railroad between 1800 and 1865. Thomas and Agnes Watkins were brought as slaves from Virginia to Sodus Bay by Captain William Helm about 1800. In 1810 they fled from slavery, taking with them their infant son, Edward. Loyd and Susan Chase and their six children arrived in Macedon, New York about 1844, but within a few years felt compelled to continue their journey to freedom, moving to Canada. In 1863, William Scott, then known as William Bacome, took advantage of the disruptions of the Civil War in Tennessee to begin his odyssey to freedom, traveling first to Massachusetts and eventually to Huron, New York, where he set down deep routes and raised his family. Continue reading

Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we explore the history of early America, we often look at people who lived and the events that took place in North America. But what about the people who lived and worked in European metropoles?

What about Native Americans?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we explore early American history through a slightly different lens, a lens that allows us to see interactions that occurred between Native American peoples and English men and women who lived in London. Our guide for this exploration is Coll Thrush, an Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and author of Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire (Yale University Press, 2016). You can listen to the episode here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/132

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Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics


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fear city book coverIn her new book Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics (Metropolitan Books, 2017), historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the story of the 1975 financial crisis that engulfed New York City. When the news broke that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue. Continue reading

New Book on Environmental Movement Illustrates Uses of History


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Climate of HopeA new book by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former executive director of the Sierra Club Carl Pope illustrates some interesting uses of history.

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Business and Citizens Can Save the Planet (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017) discusses how cities, businesses, and individuals can take action to confront global warming and improve the environment. There are lots of interesting examples and proposals. But these three themes may be of particular interest to readers of The New York History Blog. Continue reading