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Maud Howe Elliott and the American Renaissance
Maud Howe Elliott (1854-1948), the daughter of Julia Ward Howe, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and a tireless supporter of the arts, particularly in her adopted city of Newport, Rhode Island. An art historian and the author of over twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including countless articles and short stories, Elliott is perhaps best known for co-writing a biography of her mother--a major figure in the political and cultural world of New England, a woman's suffrage leader, and a leading progressive political voice. Elliott sought to enhance community and regional life by founding the Art Association of Newport in 1912 (now the Newport Art Museum), which she saw as the culmination of her life's work.
Nancy Whipple Grinnell has written an informative and inspiring biography that will appeal to a broad regional readership, finally securing Elliott's place in the pantheon of American cultural benefactors.
Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile
"Ceremonial time" occurs when past, present, and future can be perceived simultaneously. Experienced only rarely, usually during ritual dance, this escape from linear time is the vehicle for John Mitchell's extraordinary writing. In this, his most magical book, he traces the life of a single square mile in New England, from the last ice age through years of human history, including bear shamans, colonists, witches, local farmers, and encroaching industrial "parks."
Home Front and Battlefield
In this engaging volume, Thomas H. O’Connor examines the unique role that Boston and its inhabitants played in the Civil War and discusses the impact of the turbulent war years on the city’s civilian population. His captivating narrative follows the experiences of four distinctive and significant groups of people who formed antebellum Boston—businessmen, Irish Catholic immigrants, African Americans, and women. Interweaving vivid portraits of the Boston community with major political and military events of the Civil War, O’Connor relates how the war forever changed lives, disrupted homes, altered work habits, reshaped political allegiances, and transformed ideas.
Rich with colorful anecdotes about local figures, both renowned and long-forgotten, this is a fascinating account that will appeal to Civil War buffs, historians, and general readers alike.
The Nineteenth-Century Ecological & Cultural Transformations of Cape Cod
In just over a century Cape Cod was transformed from barren agricultural wasteland to bountiful fishery to pastoral postcard wilderness suitable for the tourist trade. This complex social, ecological, and scientific transformation fundamentally altered how Cape Codders used and managed their local marine resources, and determined how they eventually lost them. The Cape Cod story takes the usual land-use progression--from pristine wilderness to exploitation of resources to barren wasteland--and turns it on its head. Clearing the Coastline shows how fishermen abandoned colonial traditions of small-scale fisheries management, and how ecological, cultural, and scientific changes, as well as commercial pressures, eroded established, local conservation regimes. Without these protections, small fish and small fishermen alike were cleared from Cape Cod's coastal margins to make room for new people, whose reinvention of the Cape as a pastoral "wilderness" allowed them to overlook the social and ecological dislocation that came before.
William Cullen Bryant wrote short stories? Indeed he did, and this volume collects and evaluates them for the first time.
During the seven years before the 1832 British publication of Poems firmly established his reputation as a poet in the U.S., Bryan became a key figure in New York City's circle of fiction writers. His tales compare favorably with those of his contemporary Washington Irving, and his varied experiments in a new genre anticipate future developments by half a century and more.
Gado’s previous book presented Bryant as a major exponent of American literary nationalism and the prime antecedent of Whitman and Frost; here, he retrieves a body of short fiction from the fringe of oblivion and both shines a light on the neglected decade preceding Poe and Hawthorne and examines Bryant’s tales as part of that history.
"Frank Gado’s first-rate selection of William Cullen Bryant’s poetry and prose and his persuasive essays on Bryant’s contribution to American prosody and culture restore [him] to his rightful place in American literary history as the philosophical poet too long overlooked. An essential volume."
—Brenda Wineapple, White Heat and Ecstatic Nation
A Son of Liberty and America's Forgotten Military Disaster
At the height of the American Revolution in 1779, Massachusetts launched the Penobscot Expedition, a massive military and naval undertaking designed to force the British from the strategically important coast of Maine. What should have been an easy victory for the larger American force quickly descended into a quagmire of arguing, disobedience, and failed strategy. In the end, not only did the British retain their stronghold, but the entire flotilla of American vessels was lost in what became the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor.
In the inevitable finger-pointing that followed the debacle, the already-famous Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere, commissioned as the expedition’s artillery commander, was shockingly charged by fellow officers with neglect of duty, disobeying orders, and cowardice. Though he was not formally condemned by the court of inquiry, rumors still swirled around Boston concerning his role in the disaster, and so the fiery Revere spent the next several years of his life actively pursuing a court-martial, in an effort to resuscitate the one thing he valued above all—his reputation.
The single event defining Revere to this day is his ride from Charlestown to Lexington on the night of April 18, 1775, made famous by Longfellow’s poem of 1860. Greenburg’s is the first book to give a full account of Revere’s conduct before, during, and after the disastrous Penobscot Expedition, and of his questionable reputation at the time, which only Longfellow’s poem eighty years later could rehabilitate. Thanks to extensive research and a riveting narrative that brings the battles and courtroom drama to life, The Court-Martial of Paul Revere strips away the myths that surround the Sons of Liberty and reveals the humanity beneath. It is a must-read for anyone who yearns to understand the early days of our country.
A Fiction Writer's Guide to Sex, Violence, Dead Narrators, and Other Challenges
Although fiction writers must concern themselves with “big picture” issues such as plot, theme, and character development, much of the day-to-day work of writing involves finding answers to seemingly minor questions: How should I describe the exterior of a house? How can I construct the voice of a historical narrator with authenticity? How should I depict a physically atypical character? Few books on the market address the problems and opportunities present in these and other questions, yet they are the ones that most writers grapple with on a daily basis.
Danger on the Page: A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Sex, Violence, Dead Narrators, and Other Challenges identifies and explores some of the more common and intractable situational challenges of fiction writing, with chapters grouped into the general subject areas such as scenes, characters, points of view, and settings. Shawver delves into the pitfalls and opportunities of writing about sex, violence, sports, and love; he examines writing from the perspective of a different race, gender, or species; he interrogates conventional beliefs about the use of brand names, the description of architecture, and the portrayal of nature. Throughout, he gives dozens of examples from both literary and commercial fiction so readers can borrow (or reject) other writers’ techniques and explore the myriad challenges of fiction writing on their own.
A lively and witty approach to a diverse range of specific writing issues, Shawver’s book will appeal especially to intermediate-level writers seeking to bring their craft to the next level.
Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont's Flash Floods, and How One Small State Saved Itself
On August 28, 2011, after pounding the Caribbean and the U.S. Eastern seaboard for more than a week, Hurricane Irene finally made landfall in New Jersey. As the storm headed into New England, it was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm. And by Sunday afternoon, national news outlets were giving postmortems on the damage. Except for some flooding in low-lying areas, New York City--Irene's biggest target--had escaped its worst-case scenario. Story over.
But the story wasn't over. As Irene's eye drifted north, its bands of heavy rains twisted westward over Vermont's Green Mountains. The mountains forced these bands upward, wringing the rain out of them like water from a sponge. Streams and rivers were transformed into torrents of brown water and debris, gouging mountainsides, reshaping valleys, washing out roads, pulling apart bridges, and carrying away homes, livestock, and automobiles. For weeks, mountain towns were isolated, with no way in or out, and thousands of people were left homeless. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, it fell on the shoulders of ordinary Vermonters to help victims and rebuild the state.
Deluge is the complete story of the floods, the rescue, and the recovery, as seen through the eyes of the people who lived through them: Wilmington's Lisa Sullivan, whose bookstore was flooded, and town clerk Susie Haughwout, who saved the town records; Tracy Payne, who lost her home in Jamaica--everything in it, and the land on which it sat; Geo Honigford in South Royalton, who lost his crops, but put his own mess on hold to help others in the town; the men who put U.S. Route 4 back together at breakneck speed; and the entire village of Pittsfield, completely isolated after the storm, and its inspirational story of real community.
In this masterful intellectual and cultural biography of Denman Ross (1853-1935), the American design theorist, educator, art collector, and painter who taught at Harvard for over 25 years, Marie Frank has produced a significant artistic resurrection. An important regional figure in Boston's fine arts scene (he remains one of the largest single donors to the collections of the MFA to this day), Ross was a friend and colleague of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bernard Berenson, Jay Hambidge, and others. He gained national and international renown with his design theory, which ushered in a shift from John Ruskin's romantic naturalism to the formalist aesthetic that characterizes modern art and architecture. Ross's theory attracted artists, Arts and Crafts artisans, and architects, and helped shape architectural education, scholarship, and museum practices. This biography of an important intellectual figure is also a fascinating and illuminating guide to a pivotal point in American cultural history and a reminder of the days when Boston was America's salon.
The Age of the Airship
Here is the story of airships—manmade flying machines without wings—from their earliest beginnings to the modern era of blimps. In postcards and advertisements, the sleek, silver, cigar-shaped airships, or dirigibles, were the embodiment of futuristic visions of air travel. They immediately captivated the imaginations of people worldwide, but in less than fifty years dirigible became a byword for doomed futurism, an Icarian figure of industrial hubris. Dirigible Dreams looks back on this bygone era, when the future of exploration, commercial travel, and warfare largely involved the prospect of wingless flight. In Dirigible Dreams, C. Michael Hiam celebrates the legendary figures of this promising technology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the doomed polar explorers S. A. Andrée and Walter Wellman, and the great Prussian inventor and promoter Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, among other pivotal figures—and recounts fascinating stories of exploration, transatlantic journeys, and floating armadas that rained death during World War I. While there were triumphs, such as the polar flight of the Norge, most of these tales are of disaster and woe, culminating in perhaps the most famous disaster of all time, the crash of the Hindenburg.
This story of daring men and their flying machines, dreamers and adventurers who pushed modern technology to—and often beyond—its limitations, is an informative and exciting mix of history, technology, awe-inspiring exploits, and warfare that will captivate readers with its depiction of a lost golden age of air travel. Readable and authoritative, enlivened by colorful characters and nail-biting drama, Dirigible Dreams will appeal to a new generation of general readers and scholars interested in the origins of modern aviation.