A talk entitled “Steinbeck’s Wrath, 1936-1939: The Santa Clara Valley Years” will be given by noted author and Steinbeck authority Susan Shillinglaw on February 5 from 7-9 PM. The event will be held at the Foothill Club of Saratoga Springs (20399 Park Place) and is a fundraiser for the Saratoga History Museum (SHM). The cost will be $15 for SHM members, $20 for nonmembers. To purchase a ticket, call (408)255-1883 during regular business hours. Coffee and dessert will be served.
Recent Books About New York State
Authors and publishers of new books related to New York State can have their books noticed on the New York Almanack by following the submission guidelines HERE.
In 2006, the Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) established the Adirondack Literary Awards, a juried awards program that honors books published in or about the Adirondacks in the previous year. Now one of the most popular annual events of ACW, this year’s deadline is March 8, 2010. Those wishing to submit a book published in 2009 to be considered for an award should send two copies of the book to Director Nathalie Thill, at the ACW office with a brief cover letter including author’s contact information and description of the book’s “qualifications.” Is the author from the Adirondack region, or is the book about or influenced by the Adirondacks in some way?
The cover letter should also name which category the author would like the book to be judged under: fiction, poetry, children’s literature, memoir, nonfiction, or photography. There is no entry fee. Do not include a SASE; books cannot be returned but will become part of reading rooms or libraries. The mailing address is: Adirondack Center for Writing, Paul Smith’s College, PO Box 265, Paul Smiths, New York 12970. Questions may be directed to Nathalie Thill at ACW at 518-327-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony to be held in June (date TBA via ACW website) at the Blue Mountain Center, which donates space and resources for the event. In addition to awards in each category mentioned above, there is a People’s Choice Award as part of this festive program. For a complete list of 2009 award winners, please check out the ACW Newsletter/Annual Report at our web site, www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org. Most of the books considered for awards are made available for purchase at the ceremony by the authors, and they are happy to sign their books.
The Adirondack Center for Writing is a resource and educational organization that provides support to writers and enhances literary activity and communication throughout the Adirondacks. ACW benefits both emerging and established writers and develops literary audiences by encouraging partnerships among existing regional organizations to promote diverse programs. ACW is based at Paul Smith’s College and is supported by membership and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Sandwiched between the placid fifties and the flamboyant seventies, the sixties, a decade of tumultuous change and stunning paradoxes, is often reduced to a series of slogans, symbols, and media images. In America in the Sixties, Greene goes beyond the cliches and synthesizes thirty years of research, writing, and teaching on one of the most turbulent decades of the twentieth century.
Greene sketches the well-known players of the period—John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Betty Friedan—bringing each to life with subtle detail. He introduces the reader to lesser-known incidents of the decade and offers fresh and persuasive insights on many of its watershed events.
Greene argues that the civil rights movement began in 1955 following the death of Emmett Till; that many accomplishments credited to Kennedy were based upon myth, not historical fact, and that his presidency was far from successful; that each of the movements of the period—civil rights, students, antiwar, ethnic nationalism—were started by young intellectuals and eventually driven to failure by activists who had different goals in mind; and that the “counterculture,” which has been glorified in today’s media as a band of rock-singing hippies, had its roots in some of the most provocative social thinking of the postwar period.
Greene also chronicles the decade in a thematic manner, devoting individual chapters to such subjects as the legacy of the fifties, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, the civil rights movements, and the war in Vietnam. Combining an engrossing narrative with intelligent analysis, America in the Sixties enriches our understanding of that pivotal era.
John Robert Greene is the Paul J. Schupf Professor of History and Humanities at Cazenovia College. He has written or edited thirteen books including The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Ford Administrations and The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. He is a regular commentator in the national media, having appeared on such forums as MSNBC, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, and the History Channel.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
Lawrence P. Gooley has published another outstanding chronicle of Adirondack history, Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow. The book chronicles the story of Garrow, an abused Dannemora child, turned thief, serial rapist and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders, although police believed there were many more. Among his victims were campers near Speculator in Hamilton County where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot.
Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow sued the State of New York for $10 million for negligence in his medical care. In exchange for dropping the suit, Garrow was moved to a medium security prison. He was shot and killed during a prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis.
Gooley, who lived the story in the 1970s, says the book tells “a remarkable story, with repercussions locally, statewide, and nationwide.” “For climbers like me, it was a terrible time in the mountains,” he said. “Seeing the evidence of what he did to some of his victims confirmed for me that we were right to be wary three decades ago.”
“I researched his entire life story from birth to grave, and it really is an amazing story, Gooley told the Almanack, “there has been much misinformation on parts of his story, and it has been repeated on many websites and in newspaper stories over the years.” Gooley says he used multiple sources in order to “get the story right,” including about 2,000 pages of official court transcripts. “That gave me proof that even Garrow’s attorney changed the story,” the author said, “telling tales 35 years later that directly contradict the official court record. He may not like certain parts of my commentary, but he’ll know I’m right.”
Two years ago, Gooley won the Adirondack center For Writing’s Award for Nonfiction for Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune. He actually interrupted his work on Terror in the Adirondacks to tell that story of Brandon Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora’s battle with William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller. Gooley optioned the movie rights to a New York City company, which is still seeking funding for the film. “Several interesting things happened in connection with that book, including a call from a NY Times editor and a visit from a member of the Rockefeller family,” Gooley said, “It certainly has been interesting.”
The book was published by Gooley’s own Bloated Toe Enterprises and can be purchased online and at smaller stores in the Clinton-Essex-Franklin county area.
Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition has announced the twelfth annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, a $25,000 award for the most outstanding nonfiction book published in English in 2009 on the subject of slavery and/or abolition and antislavery movements. Publishers and authors are invited to submit books that meet these criteria.
The center is interested in all geographical areas and time periods, however, works related to the Civil War are acceptable only if their primary focus relates to slavery or emancipation. The submission deadline is April 2, 2010.
For information on submitting books e-mail them at email@example.com.
A list of past winners can be found at www.yale.edu/glc.
Photo: The Black Community at Hurricane Garden Cottage, Davis Bend, courtesy New-York Historical Society.
A new book on Teddy Roosevelt by New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley is described by the publisher as “a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement.” For those interested in the Adirondack region, this new biography helps put TR’s Adirondack experiences into the lager context of wilderness protection and wildlife conservation history.
Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials for his look at the life of what he calls our “naturalist president.” Launching from conservation work as New York State Governor, TR set aside more than 230 million acres of American wild lands between 1901 and 1909, and helped popularize the conservation of wild places.
Brinkley’s new book singles out the influential contributions of James Audubon, Charles Darwin, and John Muir in shaping Roosevelt’s view of the natural world. Some of the most interesting parts of the book relate to TR’s relationship with Dr. C. Hart Merriam, who reviewed the future president’s The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in 1877; Merriam’s own The Mammals of the Adirondacks Region of Northeastern New York, published in 1884, was duly praised by TR.
Merriam and Roosevelt later worked successfully to reverse the declining Adirondack deer population (they brought whitetail from Maine), and to outlaw jack-lighting and hunting deer with dogs and so helped establish the principles of wildlife management by New York State.
During his political stepping-stone term as 33rd Governor of New York (1899-1900) TR made the forests of the state a focus of his policies. He pushed against “the depredations of man,” the recurrent forest fires, and worked to strengthen fish and game laws. Roosevelt provided stewardship of the state’s forests and the Adirondack Park in particular, that led to the most progressive conservation and wilderness protection laws in the country.
TR also worked to replace political hacks on the New York Fisheries, Game, and Forest Commission (forerunner of the DEC), according to Brinkley, and replaced them with highly trained “independent-minded biologists, zoologists, entomologists, foresters, sportsman hunters, algae specialists, trail guides, botanists, and activists for clean rivers.” To help pay the bill he pushed for higher taxes on corporations while also pursuing a progressive politics – what Brinkley calls “an activist reformist agenda.”
The book ranges with Roosevelt to Yellowstone, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Dakota Territory, and the Big Horn Mountains. It does capture Roosevelt’s time in the Adirondacks, but its’ strength is in putting that time into the larger context of Roosevelt’s life as a wilderness conservationist. For example, TR’s opposition to the Utica Electric Light Company’s Adirondack incursions is only mentioned in passing, though Brinkley’s treatment of the relationship between Gifford Pinchot and TR is more developed. An index entry – “Adirondack National Park” – is lightly misused bringing into concern how much Brinkley really appreciates the impact of Roosevelt’s Adirondack experiences (both in-country and in Albany) on his wilderness ethic.
All in all, however, Wilderness Warrior is a well written collection of the strands of Roosevelt’s conservationist ideas, woven into a readable narrative. Considering TR’s role in so many disciplines related to our forests, that’s no mean feat.
Looking for things to do in NY? Check out Citypath
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival off the coast of Manhattan, the renowned linguist Nicoline van der Sijs along with Amsterdam University Press have published Cookies, Coleslaw, and Stoops: The Influence of Dutch on the North American Languages.
From Santa Claus (after the Dutch folklore saint Sinterklaas) and his sleigh (the pronunciation of the Dutch slee is almost identical) to a dumbhead talking poppycock, the contributions of the Dutch language to American English are indelibly embedded in some of our most vernacular terms and expressions. This fascinating volume charts over 250 Dutch loan words that journeyed over the Atlantic on Henry Hudson’s ship the Halve Maan and into the American territory and languages. Each entry marks the original arrival of a particular term to American English and offers information on its evolving meaning, etymology, and regional spread.
As you might expect, my desk-side book shelves are heavily burdened with Adirondack books. Guides to hiking, climbing, wildlife, forestry; books of photography, sit beside fiction and various technical reports – all here within easy reach. Most are history – general histories, political histories, environmental and cultural histories, books on logging, tanning, prohibition, Native Americans, county histories. Recently I received a tidy volume on Adirondack logging history that focuses on Warren County, Phillip J. Harris’s Adirondack, Lumber Capital of the World, which seems to have drawn from them all to good effect.
Harris’s book takes on, with incredible detail, the people and places that made the southeastern Adirondacks unique in the history of the American lumber industry. In 1850, New York produced more lumber – about a billion board feet a year from around a half million trees – than any other state in the nation. Southern Warren County was where much of the lumber was milled and where the Adirondack lumber barons reigned. Their names, James Morgan, William, Norman and Alison Fox, Jones Ordway, James Caldwell, John Thurman, Samuel Prime, Henry Crandall, Zenus VanDusen, Jeremiah and Daniel Finch, Augustus Sherman, George Freeman, William McEchron, are found scattered through the county’s history books – until now.
Harris’s book takes on the large and small, from the first pioneers and their patents, to the lumber camps, jobbers, log drives, log marks, and sawmills. The Delaware and Hudson Railroad is featured in one chapter, the Fort William Henry Hotel in another. In 1865 there were some 4,000 sawmills in New York State, one hundred years later there were fewer the 200 – today, maybe fewer then 50. One of the bigger contributions Harris makes to the history of the Adirondack lumber industry is in explaining how that came to pass.
This summer the film “The Wizard of Oz” marked its 70th anniversary. Just in time comes The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baumby Rebecca Loncraine, the first full biography of L. Frank Baum – from his birth in 1856 and his youth in the Finger Lakes region, to the years following his death – that looks at the people, places, history, culture, and literature that influenced the renowned storyteller. From the Civil War to women’s suffrage, from amputation to modern medicine, from psychics to industrialization, Baum saw it all and it was reflected in his writings. Loncraine is an acknowledged expert on Oz and Baum who traveled the US to study him, his works and the impact they had on our culture for the book.
When The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written at the turn of the century, it quickly became an icon of American Culture. The public and the media were entranced by myths surrounding Baum’s creation, all covered in the book:
Was OZ really named from the O-Z on his file cabinet?
Was the book really a reaction to the Populist party?
What was Baum’s incredible connection to PT Barnum?
Bill Greer (a trustee of the New Netherland Institute) will talk about painting a portrait of New Netherland in a work of fiction, using his novel The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan: A Novel of New Amsterdam and the life of Peter Stuyvesant, Director general of the New Netherland colony. The event will take place on November 19th at the Hagaman Historical Society, Pawling Hall, 86 Pawling Street, in Hagaman (Montgomery County), NY at 7 pm.