- Book Notes
Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County. By William A. Penn. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016. Pp. 392. $45.00 cloth; $45.00 ebook)
William A. Penn, editor of the Harrison Heritage News, has spent a good portion of his life studying the Civil War era in Harrison County, Kentucky. He traces his interest back to a 1962 term paper that he wrote for Dr. Thomas D. Clark while attending the University of Kentucky, and Kentucky Rebel Town serves as a distillation of decades of reading and research. In a highly detailed reprinted edition, Penn recounts the troop movements, material conditions, and fighting at two major clashes for Cynthiana, the second of which saw the town virtually destroyed by fire. Penn’s title notwithstanding, the text of the book treats the topic with care and nuance, tracing the complex developments in a county with divided loyalties. This local case study provides a fascinating close look at the Civil War in one corner of the conflicted commonwealth.
Golden Glory: The History of Central City Basketball. By Tom Wallace. (Morley, Mo.: Acclaim Press, 2016. Pp. 416. $29.95 cloth)
Novelist, sportswriter, and Central City native Tom Wallace has written an interesting history that transports the reader back to an era when high school basketball dominated the cultural landscape of Kentucky for much of the year. Digging deep into the rich tradition at the now-defunct high school in Muhlenberg County, Wallace traces the rise and fall of a dominant sports program but also ties the school to the history of the wider community. Golden Glory is sure [End Page 457] to intrigue anyone with an interest in the history of Kentucky high school basketball.
Kentucky Renaissance: The Lexington Camera Club and Its Community, 1954–1974. By Brian Sholis, with an essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2016. Pp. 192. $45.00 cloth)
This beautiful book relates the story of Lexington’s flourishing modernist photography community in the middle of the twentieth century. The group included celebrated artists who went on to prestigious positions, like director of the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, but also relative unknowns, Kentuckians who simply enjoyed experimenting with photography. The book includes more than 120 illustrations of work from the Lexington Camera Club and a fascinating essay devoted to the group. Authors Brian Scholis and John Jeremiah Sullivan do an admirable job of translating the experience of visiting the collection, which was recently on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum, to the printed page. [End Page 458]