Category Archives: Books

A History of Abolition


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ben_franklins_worldMost histories of American abolitionism begin just before the Civil War, during the Antebellum period. But the movement to end chattel slavery in America began long before the United States was a nation.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Manisha Sinha, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut and author of the award-winning book The Slaves Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016), takes us through the early American origins of the the abolition movement. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/142

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Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea


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ben_franklins_worldNathaniel Bowditch worked as a navigator, mathematician, astronomer, and business innovator. Over the course of his lifetime, his fellow Americans hailed him as the “American Sir Isaac Newton.”

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Tamara Thornton, a professor of history at the University of Buffalo and author of Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a Nineteenth-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed America (UNCPress, 2016), leads us on a detailed exploration of the life of Nathaniel Bowditch. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/140

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Brooklyn Ghost Ship: Revolutionary War British Prison Ship HMS Jersey


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Brooklyn Prison ShipA new book by Robert P. Watson, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn (Da Capo Press, 2017) tells the story of a prison ship employed by the British during the American Revolution.

Moored off the coast of Brooklyn until the end of the war, the derelict ship, the HMS Jersey, held thousands of Americans either captured by the British or accused of disloyalty.

Crammed below deck – one thousand men at a time – without light or fresh air, the prisoners were scarcely fed food and water. Disease ran rampant and human waste fouled the air as prisoners were held at the mercy of British and Hessian guards. Continue reading

Women Will Vote: New Book On Winning Suffrage in NYS


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Suffrage in New YorkSusan Goodier and Karen Pastorello have released a new book, Women Will Vote (Cornell University Press, 2017), which coincides with the 2017 centenary of women’s right to full suffrage in New York State.

The book highlights the activism of rural, urban, African American, Jewish, immigrant, and European American women, as well as male suffragists, both upstate and downstate, that led to the positive outcome of the 1917 referendum.

Goodier and Pastorello argue that the popular nature of the women’s suffrage movement in New York State and the resounding success of the referendum at the polls relaunched suffrage as a national issue. If women had failed to gain the vote in New York, Goodier and Pastorello claim, there is good reason to believe that the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment would have been delayed. Continue reading

Uncovered Story: Indian Enslavement in America


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ben_franklins_worldIn 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery.

When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel slavery. However, that system of slavery wasn’t the only system of slavery that existed in North America. Systems of Indian slavery existed too. In fact, Indians remained enslaved long after the 13th Amendment abolished African-American slavery in 1865.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Andrés Reséndez, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis and author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in Americas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), leads us on an investigation of this “other” form of American slavery. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/139.

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New Book On Role of Men in Suffrage Movement


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The SuffragentsBrooke Kroeger’s book, The Suffragents (SUNY Press, 2017) tells the story of how some of New York’s most powerful men formed the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, which grew between 1909 and 1917 from 150 founding members into a force of thousands across thirty-five states.

Kroeger details the National American Woman Suffrage Association’s strategic decision to accept their organized help and then to deploy these influential new allies as suffrage foot soldiers, a role they accepted.

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New Critical Edition of ‘The History of the Five Indian Nations’


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Five Indian NationsCornell University Press has released a new Critical Edition of Cadwallader Colden’s History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America (2017). The Critical Edition includes several essays that consider Colden’s original text across social, cultural, and political contexts.

The History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America was originally published in 1727 and revised in 1747. In the book, Colden discusses the religion, manners, customs, laws, and forms of government of the confederacy of tribes composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas (and, later, Tuscaroras), and gives accounts of battles, treaties, and trade up to 1697. Continue reading

Frontier Politics in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldDid you know that Connecticut and Virginia once invaded Pennsylvania?

During the 1760s, Connecticut invaded and captured the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania just as Virginia invaded and captured parts of western Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania stood powerless to stop them.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Patrick Spero, the Librarian of the American Philosophical Society and author of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), takes us through these invasions and reveals why Pennsylvania proved unable to defend its territory. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/138

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New Book Explores Class Conflict in Eighteenth Century NYC


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Who Rules at HomeIn Who Should Rule at Home? (Cornell University Press, 2017) Joyce D. Goodfriend argues that the high-ranking gentlemen who figure so prominently in most accounts of New York City’s evolution from 1664, when the English captured the small Dutch outpost of New Amsterdam, to the eve of American Independence in 1776, were far from invincible and that the degree of cultural power they held has been exaggerated.

Goodfriend explains how the urban elite experienced challenges to its cultural authority at different times, from different groups, and in a variety of settings. Continue reading

A New History of the Fulton Chain


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A new history covering the Fulton Chain of Lakes region from Moose River Settlement to its boundary west of Raquette Lake is now available from North Country Books and selected regional bookstores.

Regular contributor to the Weekly Adirondack of Old Forge Charles E. Herr’s new book, The Fulton Chain: Early Settlement, Roads, Steamboats, Railroads and Hotels, documents the story of the stalwart folk whose lives shaped the Fulton Chain.

The book represents the first general history of the Fulton Chain region in almost seventy years.
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