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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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Gerry Studds

America's First Openly Gay Congressman

Mark Robert Schneider

Representative Gerry Studds served the Massachusetts South Shore, Cape Cod, and New Bedford congressional district from 1973 to 1997. During his first decade in the House he helped pass legislation that protected American fishermen from overfishing by international boats and limited President Ronald Reagan's wars in Central America.

The defining moment of his career, however, came in 1983, when he was censured by the House for having had an affair with a page ten years previously. On the floor of Congress, Studds confessed to having behaved inappropriately and then courageously declared that he was a gay man -- becoming the country's first openly gay member of Congress. Defying all expectations, Studds won reelection in a bruising campaign. For the rest of his career, he remained loyal to his constituents' concerns while also championing AIDS research and care, leading the effort in Congress to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military, and opposing the Defense of Marriage Act. Once a deeply conflicted man, he ultimately found a balance between his public service and his private life, which included a happy, legally recognized marriage.

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Global Trade and Visual Arts in Federal New England

Patricia Johnston

A highly original and much-needed collection that explores the impact of Asian and Indian Ocean trade on the art and aesthetic sensibilities of New England port towns in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This diverse, interdisciplinary volume adds to our understanding of visual representations of economic and cultural changes in New England as the region emerged as a global trading center, entering the highly prized East Indies trades. Examining a wide variety of commodities and forms including ceramics, textiles, engravings, paintings, architecture, and gardens, the contributors highlight New Englanders’ imperial ambitions in a wider world.

This book will appeal to a broad audience of historians and students of American visual art, as well as scholars and students of fine and decorative arts.

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Habitats

Private Lives in the Big City

Constance Rosenblum

There may be eight million stories in the Naked City, but there are also nearly three million dwelling places, ranging from Park Avenue palaces to Dickensian garrets and encompassing much in between. The doorways to these residences are tantalizing portals opening onto largely invisible lives.  Habitats offers 40 vivid and intimate stories about how New Yorkers really live in their brownstones, their apartments, their mansions, their lofts, and as a whole presents a rich, multi-textured portrait of what it means to make a home in the world’s most varied and powerful city. 
 
These essays, expanded versions of a selection of the Habitats column published in the Real Estate section of The New York Times, take readers to both familiar and remote sections of the city—to history-rich townhouses, to low-income housing projects, to out-of-the-way places far from the beaten track, to every corner of the five boroughs—and introduces them to a wide variety of families and individuals who call New York home. These pieces reveal a great deal about the city’s past and its rich store of historic dwellings. Along with exploring the deep and even mystical connections people feel to the place where they live, these pieces, taken as a whole, offer a mosaic of domestic life in one of the world’s most fascinating cities and a vivid portrait of the true meaning of home in the 21st-century metropolis.
 
Constance Rosenblum, most recently the author of the Habitats column published in the Real Estate section of The New York Times, is the longtime editor of the paper’s City section and a former editor of the Times’s Arts and Leisure section. She is the author of Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx

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A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts

Joseph M. Bagley

History is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Though not the most popular construction project, Boston’s Big Dig has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the city’s archaeological history than any other recent event. Joseph M. Bagley, city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents. Each artifact is shown in full color and accompanied by description of the item’s significance to its site location and the larger history of the city. From cannonballs to drinking cups and from ancient spears to chinaware, A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts offers a unique and accessible introduction to Boston’s history and physical culture while revealing the ways objects can offer a tantalizing entrée into our past.

Packed with vivid descriptions and art, this lively history of Boston will appeal to all manner of readers, locals and visitors alike.

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House Stories

The Meanings of Home in a New England Town

Beth Luey

Historic houses adorned with plaques populate New England like nowhere else in the country. These plaques note the construction year and original owner of the house, but they tell nothing about the rich lives of the people who lived there. In House Stories, Beth Luey takes readers on a virtual walking tour of several historic houses in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, a small New England coastal town, inviting us in to learn each house’s secrets. Through letters and diaries, church and business records, newspaper accounts, legal documents, and the recollections of neighbors who knew them, Luey introduces the diverse cast of historical characters who lived in these houses at various times from 1800 to the 2000s, including a Japanese castaway and his rescuer, a self-made millionaire, a seagoing adventurer, a religious pioneer, and an entrepreneurial immigrant. All of the houses are still standing and all but a lighthouse are still called home. In House Stories, Luey asks readers to join her as she considers the multiple meanings of “home” for these people and their families.

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In the Evil Day

Violence Comes to One Small Town

Richard Adams Carey

On the afternoon of August 19, 1997, John Harrigan—owner and publisher of the News and Sentinel newspaper in Colebrook, New Hampshire—arrived at his building to find the woman he loved lying dead in the parking lot. Lawyer Vickie Bunnell had been shot and killed by an itinerant carpenter wielding an assault rifle. By then, three more people were already dead or dying. More mayhem was to ensue in an afternoon of plot twists too improbable for a novel. The roots of the incident stretch back twenty-five years, with tendrils deep in the history of New England’s North Country.

These bloody events shocked America and made headlines across the world. Hundreds of local citizens became unwilling players in the drama—friends and colleagues of the dead, men and women who were themselves real or potential targets, along with their neighbors in law enforcement—but the town and its inhabitants were never passive victims. From the first shot fired that day, they remained courageously determined to survive. This is the story of that town, those people, and that day. In the Evil Day is a moving portrait of small-town life and familiar characters forever changed by sudden violence.

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Influenza and Inequality

One Town's Tragic Response to the Great Epidemic of 1918

Patricia J. Fanning

The influenza epidemic of 1918 was one of the worst medical disasters in human history, taking close to thirty million lives worldwide in less than a year, including more than 500,000 in the United States. What made this pandemic even more frightening was the fact that it occurred when death rates for most common infectious diseases were diminishing. Still, an epidemic is not merely a medical crisis; it has sociological, psychological, and political dimensions as well. In Influenza and Inequality, Patricia J. Fanning examines these other dimensions and brings to life this terrible episode of epidemic disease by tracing its path through the town of Norwood, Massachusetts. By 1918, Norwood was a small, ethnically diverse, industrialized, and stratified community. Ink, printing, and tanning factories were owned by wealthy families who lived privileged lives. These industries attracted immigrant laborers who made their homes in several ethnic neighborhoods and endured prejudice and discrimination at the hands of native residents. When the epidemic struck, the immigrant neighborhoods were most affected; a fact that played a significant role in the town’s response—with tragic results. This close analysis of one town’s struggle illuminates how even well-intentioned elite groups may adopt and implement strategies that can exacerbate rather than relieve a medical crisis. It is a cautionary tale that demonstrates how social behavior can be a fundamental predictor of the epidemic curve, a community’s response to crisis, and the consequences of those actions.

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Inventing Ethan Allen

John J. Duffy

Since 1969, Ethan Allen has been the subject of three biographical studies, all of which indulge in sustaining and revitalizing the image of Allen as a physically imposing Vermont yeoman, a defender of the rights of Americans, an eloquent military hero, and a master of many guises, from rough frontiersman to gentleman philosopher.

Seeking the authentic Ethan Allen, the authors of this volume ask: How did that Ethan Allen secure his place in popular culture? As they observe, this spectacular persona leaves little room for a more accurate assessment of Allen as a self-interested land speculator, rebellious mob leader, inexperienced militia officer, and truth-challenged man who would steer Vermont into the British Empire.

Drawing extensively from the correspondence in Ethan Allen and his Kin and a wide range of historical, political, and cultural sources, Duffy and Muller analyze the factors that led to Ethan Allen’s two-hundred-year-old status as the most famous figure in Vermont’s past. Placing facts against myths, the authors reveal how Allen acquired and retained his iconic image, how the much-repeated legends composed after his death coincide with his life, why recollections of him are synonymous with the story of Vermont, and why some Vermonters still assign to Allen their own cherished and idealized values.

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Investment Management in Boston

A History

David Grayson Allen

Presented here for the first time is the history of Boston’s evolution as a center of American money management from early settlement to the twenty-first century. Within a few decades after the Revolution, Bostonians built up an impressive mercantile and industrial economy, and used wealth accrued from the China trade, New England mills, and other ventures to establish the most important stock exchange in America. They also created the “Boston trustee,” a unique professional who managed private fortunes over generations. During the late nineteenth century, Boston financial institutions were renowned as bastions of stability and conservatism in an era of recurrent economic panics and frequent failures. It was not until the twentieth century that Boston became better known for its role in investment management. In 1924, local financiers created the first mutual fund, an innovation almost a century in the making. After World War II, Boston originated venture capital with the founding of American Research & Development. This was soon followed by the development of private equity, the growth of the mutual fund industry, the pension “revolution” that changed and strengthened money management, the evolution in management of institutional endowments, and the rise of new family offices and hedge funds. The contributions of fiduciaries and investment managers have played an important part in the rise of the “New Boston” and made the city one of the most vibrant financial capitals in the world. Investment Management in Boston is published in association with Massachusetts Historical Society.

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