Alone atop the Hill: The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press. Edited by Carol McCabe Booker. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015. Pp. 240. $26.95 cloth)
Alice Allison Dunnigan was a Kentucky sharecropper’s daughter who pursued a career in journalism in Washington D.C. She was the first black female reporter accredited to the White House. Alone atop the Hill is Dunnigan’s condensed autobiography with added annotations for historical context. Dunnigan’s story begins with her life in Kentucky and follows her to Washington as she became a typist during World War II. As a reporter after the war, she traveled the nation with President Harry S. Truman describing the racial issues before the presidential administration, federal courts, and Congress. Her account provides a fascinating glimpse of Washington politics in the postwar age. [End Page 131]
Lens of War: Exploring Iconic Photographs of the Civil War. Edited by J. Matthew Gallman and Gary W. Gallagher. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015. Pp. 256. $32.95 cloth)
Few items convey the brutality of war more than a simple photograph. J. Matthew Gallman and Gary Gallagher have taken this to heart in this book of Civil War photographs. Lens of War highlights thirty photographs, each examined in individual chapters with essays containing the background of the image as well as its significance to the war. Consequently, even the most familiar photographs in the book take on deeper meaning, making Lens of War a must-read for any Civil War buff. [End Page 132]
Gateway City: Covington, Kentucky, 1815–2015. Edited by Paul A. Tenkotte, James C. Claypool, and David E. Schroeder. (Covington, Ky.: Clerisy Press, 2015. Pp. 450. $45.00 cloth)
This extensive examination of Covington, Kentucky, depicts the city’s transformation over a two-hundred-year span as it changed from being a “Gateway to the West” to a “Gateway between North and South” to a “Gateway to Progress.” The essays, written by over twenty-five authors, cover a host of topics ranging from business and politics to horseracing and basketball.
The first portion of the book follows a chronological order, beginning in 1763 with early settlements and the French and Indian War and concluding with the modern architecture that now comprises the city. The essays on the nineteenth century focus primarily on commercial development, with discussions on land grants, railroads, bridges, toll roads, and city growth; they contain brief mentions of the city’s slaveholding history and its role in the Civil War. The essay on the twentieth century maintains the commercial focus but also considers political developments, beginning with Governor William Goebel’s assassination in 1900 and discussing the city’s time under “boss rule,” before describing Covington during the world wars and the 1937 flood.
The second portion is arranged thematically, with essays on immigration, medicine, churches, technology, African Americans, women, and sports. One of the most fascinating essays discusses music and entertainment in Covington, describing popular trends as well as famous performers from the region. The essay considers the development of radio and cinema as well as the more “modern” bands of the 1960s. Each essay contains short descriptions of key individuals and places, which are offset in the text. The vivid photos that accompany each essay are one of the volume’s best assets and capture the city’s changes. Anyone familiar with Covington or interested in its history will enjoy seeing how the city developed over the past two hundred years. [End Page 133]