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Domestic Broils

Shakers, Antebellum Marriage, and the Narratives of Mary and Joseph Dyer

edited by Elizabeth De Wolfe

In 1813, Joseph Dyer, his wife Mary, and their five children joined the Shaker community in Enfield, New Hampshire. Joseph quickly adapted to the Shaker way of life, but Mary chafed under its strictures and eventually left the community two years later. When the local elders and her husband refused to release the couple’s children to Mary, she embarked on what would become a fifty-year campaign against the Shakers, beginning with the publication in 1818 of A Brief Statement of the Sufferings of Mary Dyer. The following year the Shakers countered by publishing Joseph’s A Compendious Narrative, a scathing attack on what the title page called “the character, disposition and conduct of Mary Dyer.” Reproduced here for the first time since their original publication, the Dyers’ dueling accounts of the breakup of their marriage form the core of Domestic Broils. In Mary’s telling, the deceptions of a cruel husband, backed by an unyielding Shaker hierarchy, destroyed what had once been a happy, productive family. Joseph’s narrative counters these claims by alleging that Mary abused her children, neglected her husband, and engaged in extramarital affairs. In her introduction to the volume, Elizabeth De Wolfe places the Dyers’ marital dispute in a broader historical context, drawing on their personal testimony to examine connected but conflicting views of marriage, family life, and Shakerism in the early republic. She also shows how the growing world of print facilitated the transformation of a private family quarrel into a public debate. Salacious, riveting, and immensely popular throughout New England, the Dyers’ narratives not only captured imaginations but also reflected public anxieties over rapid cultural change in antebellum America.

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Ecological Revolutions

Nature, Gender, and Science in New England

Carolyn Merchant

With the arrival of European explorers and settlers during the seventeenth century, Native American ways of life and the environment itself underwent radical alterations as human relationships to the land and ways of thinking about nature all changed. This colonial ecological revolution held sway until the nineteenth century, when New England's industrial production brought on a capitalist revolution that again remade the ecology, economy, and conceptions of nature in the region. In Ecological Revolutions, Carolyn Merchant analyzes these two major transformations in the New England environment between 1600 and 1860.

In a preface to the second edition, Merchant introduces new ideas about narrating environmental change based on gender and the dialectics of transformation, while the revised epilogue situates New England in the context of twenty-first-century globalization and climate change. Merchant argues that past ways of relating to the land could become an inspiration for renewing resources and achieving sustainability in the future.

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Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic

Bill Russell

To most Americans, mushrooms are the brown lumps in the soup one uses to make a tuna casserole, but to a select few, mushrooms are the abundant yet often well-hidden delicacies of the forests. In spite of their rather dismal reputation, most wild mushrooms are both edible and delicious, when prepared properly. From the morel to the chanterelle and the prolific and aptly named chicken of the woods, mushrooms can easily be harvested and enjoyed, if you know where to look and what to look for. Bill Russell’s Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic helps the reader learn just that—specifically for the often-neglected East Coast mushrooms of the United States and Canada. Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, this book helps the reader identify mushrooms with the use of illustrations, descriptions, and environmental observations. Russell’s fifty years of experience in hunting, studying, and teaching about wild mushrooms have been carefully distilled into this easy-to-use and well-designed guide. The book is divided into the four seasons, each with its unique mushroom offerings. Each mushroom section includes a detailed description, information about the mushroom’s biology, tips on where the mushroom is most likely to be found, and a short “nutshell” description for quick reference. The book also includes color photographs of each of the mushrooms described. Russell’s Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic shows the reader not only how to identify the most common mushrooms found in the region but also how to avoid common copycats—and what to do with the mushrooms once they’re identified and harvested. With both color illustrations and insightful descriptions of one hundred of the area’s most common mushrooms, Field Guide is an indispensable reference for the curious hiker, the amateur biologist, or the adventurous chef.

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The Fires of New England

A Story of Protest and Rebellion in Antebellum America

Eric J. Morser

In the winter of 1834, twenty men convened in Keene, New Hampshire, and published a fiery address condemning their state's legal system as an abomination that threatened the legacy of the American Revolution. They attacked New Hampshire's constitution as an archaic document that undermined democracy and created a system of conniving attorneys and judges. They argued that the time was right for their neighbors to rise up and return the Granite State to the glorious pathway blazed by the nation's founders.

Few people embraced the manifesto and its radical message. Nonetheless, as Eric J. Morser illustrates in this eloquently written and deeply researched book, the address matters because it reveals how commercial, cultural, political, and social changes were remaking the lives of the men who drafted and shared it in the 1830s. Using an imaginative range of sources, Morser artfully reconstructs their moving personal tales and locates them in a grander historical context. By doing so, he demonstrates that even seemingly small stories from antebellum America can help us understand the rich complexities of the era.

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First Fruits of Freedom

The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900

Janette Thomas Greenwood

Greenwood chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War. She describes a network forged between Worcester County, Mass., and eastern North Carolina as a result of Worcester regiments taking control of northeastern N.C. during the war. White soldiers from Worcester, a hotbed of abolitionism, protected refugee slaves, set up schools for them, and led them north at war's end. Migrants established a small black community in Worcester with a distinctive southern flavor, but were generally disappointed in their hopes for full-fledged citizenship.

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The First Primary

New Hampshire's Outsize Role in Presidential Nominations

David W. Moore

Since 1952, the primary election in a small, not very diverse New England state has had a disproportionate impact on the U.S. presidential nomination process and the ensuing general election. Although just a handful of delegates are at stake, the New Hampshire primary has become a massive media event and a reasonably reliable predictor of a campaign’s ultimate success or failure. In The First Primary, Moore and Smith offer a comprehensive history of the state’s primary, an analysis of its media coverage and impact, and a description of the New Hampshire electorate, along with a discussion of how that electorate reflects or diverges from national opinions on candidates and issues. A book for political scientists and political junkies, media and policy professionals, and all students of American government, The First Primary ably fills the gaps in our understanding of New Hampshire’s outsize role in the nomination process.

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Food for the Dead

On the Trail of New England’s Vampires

Michael E. Bell

For nineteenth-century New Englanders, "vampires" lurked behind tuberculosis. To try to rid their houses and communities from the scourge of the wasting disease, families sometimes relied on folk practices, including exhuming and consuming the bodies of the deceased. Author and folklorist Michael E. Bell spent twenty years pursuing stories of the vampire in New England. While writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Henry David Thoreau, and Amy Lowell drew on portions of these stories in their writings, Bell brings the actual practices to light for the first time. He shows that the belief in vampires was widespread, and, for some families, lasted well into the twentieth century. With humor, insight, and sympathy, he uncovers story upon story of dying men, women, and children who believed they were food for the dead. This Wesleyan paperback edition includes an extensive preface by the author unveiling some of the new cases he's learned about since Food for the Dead was first published in 2001.

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From Darkness to Dynasty

The First 40 Years of the New England Patriots

Jerry Thornton

Love them or hate them, what New England has been able to do over the past 15 years is nothing short of remarkable. Now, not only boasting four Super Bowl Championships, the Patriots also have the best coach in the league, a smart and savvy front office, and a future Hall of Fame quarterback who is internationally recognized as the face of the NFL. And as the Patriots continue to dominate, on the field as well as in the media and the American pop culture landscape, the harder it is for anyone to remember them as anything other than a model franchise and the ultimate paradigm of success and accomplishment.

Anyone, that is, except for Jerry Thornton. It wasn’t always sunshine and roses for the Patriots; in fact, for the bulk of their existence, it was exactly the opposite. Though difficult to fathom now, the New England Patriots of old were not just bad—they were laughably bad. Not too long ago, the Pats were not only the laughingstock of the NFL, but of the entire sporting world.

From Darkness to Dynasty reveals the unlikely history of the New England Patriots as it has never been told before. From their humble beginnings as a team bought with rainy day money by a man who had no idea what he was doing to that fateful 2001 season that saw them win their first Super Bowl, Jerry Thornton shares the wild, humiliating, unbelievable, and wonderful stories that comprised the first 40 years of what would ultimately become the most dominant franchise in NFL history.

Witty, hilarious, and brutally honest, From Darkness to Dynasty returns to the thrilling, perilous days of yesteryear—a welcome corrective for those who hate the Patriots, and a useful reminder, for those who love them, that all glory is fleeting.

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Gateway to Vacationland

The Making of Portland, Maine

John F. Bauman

Situated on a peninsula jutting into picturesque Casco Bay, Portland has long been admired for its geographical setting—the “beautiful city by the sea,” as native son Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called it. At the same time, Portland’s deep, ice-free port has made it an ideal site for the development of coastal commerce and industry. Much of the city’s history, John F. Bauman shows, has been defined by the effort to reconcile the competing interests generated by these attributes—to balance the imperatives of economic growth with a desire to preserve Portland’s natural beauty. Caught in the crossfire of British and French imperial ambitions throughout the colonial era, Portland emerged as a prosperous shipbuilding center and locus of trade in the decades following the American Revolution. During the nineteenth century it became a busy railroad hub and winter port for Canadian grain until a devastating fire in 1866 reduced much of the city to ruins. Civic leaders responded by reinventing Portland as a tourist destination, building new hotels, parks, and promenades, and proclaiming it the “Gateway to Vacationland.” After losing its grain trade in the 1920s and suffering through the Great Depression, Portland withered in the years following World War II as it wrestled with the problems of deindustrialization, suburbanization, and an aging downtown. Efforts at urban renewal met with limited success until the 1980s, when a concerted plan of historic preservation and the restoration of the Old Port not only revived the tourist trade but eventually established Portland as one of America’s “most livable cities.”

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The George Washington Bridge

Poetry in Steel

Michael Aaron Rockland

Since opening in 1931, the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, has become the busiest bridge in the world, with 108 million vehicles crossing it in 2007. Many people also consider it the most beautiful bridge in the world, yet remarkably little has been written about this majestic structure.

Intimate and engaging, Michael Rockland's rich narrative presents perspectives on the GWB, as it is often called, that span history, architecture, engineering, transportation, design, the arts, politics, and even post-9/11 mentality. Stunning archival photos, from the late 1920s when the bridge was built through the present, are a powerful complement to the bridge's history. Rockland covers the competition between the GWB and the Brooklyn Bridge that parallels the rivalry between New Jersey and New York City. Readers will learn about the Swiss immigrant Othmar Ammann, an unsung hero who designed and built the GWB, and how a lack of funding during the Depression dictated the iconic, uncovered steel beams of its towers, which we admire today. There are chapters discussing accidents on the bridge, such as an airplane crash landing in the westbound lanes and the sad story of suicides off its span; the appearance of the bridge in media and the arts; and Rockland's personal adventures on the bridge, including scaling its massive towers on a cable.

Movies, television shows, songs, novels, countless images, and even PlayStation 2 games have aided the GWB in becoming a part of the global popular culture. This tribute will captivate residents living in the shadow of the GWB, the millions who walk, jog, bike, skate, or drive across it, as well as tourists and those who will visit it some day.
  • First major book on the George Washington Bridge
  • Full of amazing facts about the GWB that will surprise even bridge historians
  • Includes over 30 spectacular illustrations, ranging from archival photographs of the building of the bridge to those that show it draped in an enormous flag after 9/11
  • Includes personal accounts of the author's adventures on the bridge

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