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The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books

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The Driftless Connecticut Series & Garnet Books

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Becoming Tom Thumb

Charles Stratton, P. T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity

Eric D. Lehman

When P. T. Barnum met twenty-five-inch-tall Charles Stratton at a Bridgeport, Connecticut hotel in 1843, one of the most important partnerships in entertainment history was born. With Barnum's promotional skills and the miniature Stratton's comedic talents, they charmed a Who's Who of the 19th century, from Queen Victoria to Charles Dickens to Abraham Lincoln. Adored worldwide as "General Tom Thumb," Stratton played to sold-out shows for almost forty years. From his days as a precocious child star to his tragic early death, Becoming Tom Thumb tells the full story of this iconic figure for the first time. It details his triumphs on the New York stage, his epic celebrity wedding, and his around-the-world tour, drawing on newly available primary sources and interviews. From the mansions of Paris to the deserts of Australia, Stratton's unique brand of Yankee comedy not only earned him the accolades of millions of fans, it helped move little people out of the side show and into the lime light.

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The British Raid on Essex

The Forgotten Battle of the War of 1812

Jerry Roberts

This is the dynamic account of one of the most destructive maritime actions to take place in Connecticut history: the 1814 British attack on the privateers of Pettipaug, known today as the British Raid on Essex. During the height of the War of 1812, 136 Royal marines and sailors made their way up the Connecticut River from warships anchored in Long Island Sound. Guided by a well-paid American traitor the British navigated the Saybrook shoals and advanced up the river under cover of darkness. By the time it was over, the British had burned twenty-seven American vessels, including six newly built privateers. It was the largest single maritime loss of the war. Yet this story has been virtually left out of the history books—the forgotten battle of the forgotten war. This new account from author and historian Jerry Roberts is the definitive overview of this event and includes a wealth of new information drawn from recent research and archaeological finds. Lavish illustrations and detailed maps bring the battle to life.

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Connecticut in the American Civil War

Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival

Matthew Warshauer

Connecticut in the American Civil War offers readers a remarkable window into the state’s involvement in a conflict that challenged and defined the unity of a nation. The arc of the war is traced through the many facets and stories of battlefield, home front, and factory. Matthew Warshauer masterfully reveals the varied attitudes toward slavery and race before, during, and after the war; Connecticut’s reaction to the firing on Fort Sumter; the dissent in the state over whether or not the sword and musket should be raised against the South; the raising of troops; the sacrifice of those who served on the front and at home; and the need for closure after the war. This book is a concise, amazing account of a complex and troubling war. No one interested in this period of American history can afford to miss reading this important contribution to our national and local stories.

The paperback edition includes a reading guide, which is also available at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/e-books/materials/warshauer_reading_guide.pdf

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Connecticut’s Fife and Drum Tradition

James Clark

The state of Connecticut boasts an extensive and active community of fife and drum groups. This musical tradition has its origins in the small military bands maintained by standing armies in Britain and Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--the drum was especially important as it helped officers train soldiers how to march, and was also used to communicate with troops across battlefields. Today fifers and drummers gather at conventions called "musters," which may include a parade and concerts featuring the various participating corps. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest muster ever was held in Deep River, Connecticut, in 1976. Musician and historian James Clark is the first to detail the colorful history of this unique music. This engaging book leads the reader through the history of the individual instruments and tells the story of this classic folk tradition through anecdotes, biographies, photographs, and musical examples.

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Ella Grasso

Connecticut's Pioneering Governor

Jon E. Purmont

When Ella Tambussi Grasso ran for governor of Connecticut in 1974, she had not lost an election since she was first voted into the state's General Assembly in 1952. The people of Connecticut chose her as the nation's first woman to be elected governor in her own right--the capstone of a long and successful career dedicated to public service, effective government, and the democratic process. During her tenure as governor, Grasso's leadership was tested in the face of fiscal problems, state layoffs, and budget shortfalls. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she endeared herself to her constituents during the great Blizzard of 1978, when she stayed at the State Armory around the clock to direct emergency operations and make frequent television appearances. Author Jon E. Purmont, who served as Grasso's executive assistant when she was governor, draws on his diary from that time, research in Grasso's archives, and interviews with Grasso's family and friends to give us a rich and intimate portrait of this political pioneer.

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Garnet Poems

An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776

Dennis Barone

Connecticut may be a small state, but it is large indeed in its contribution to the nation's literature. Garnet Poems features forty-two poets whose work has a strong connection to Connecticut. The first major anthology of Connecticut poetry to appear since the mid-nineteenth century, it includes the work of such notable poets as Wallace Stevens, Lydia Sigourney, Mark Van Doren, Richard Wilbur,
Susan Howe, and Elizabeth Alexander. Distinguished writer-scholar Dennis Barone has supplemented the poems with an editor's preface, notes that illuminate the poet's (or poem's) relation to the state, and informative biographies. The book also features a foreword by Dick Allen, the current Connecticut state poet laureate.

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Gervase Wheeler

A British Architect in America, 1847–1860

Renee Tribert

Gervase Wheeler was an English-born architect who designed such important American works as the Henry Boody House in Brunswick, Maine; the Patrick Barry House in Rochester, New York; and the chapels at Bowdoin and Williams colleges. But he was perhaps best known as the author of two influential architecture books, Rural Homes (1851) and Homes for the People (1855). Yet Wheeler has remained a little known, enigmatic figure. Renee Tribert and James F. O'Gorman's study sheds new light on the course of Wheeler's career in the states, and brings crucial issues to the fore--the international movement of ideas, the development of the American architectural profession, the influence of architectural publications on popular taste, and social history as expressed in the changing nature of the American house. Wheeler's career is traced chronologically and geographically and the book is lavishly illustrated with over fifty images, including building plans and historical photographs.

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Homegrown Terror

Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London 

Eric D. Lehman

On September 6, 1781, Connecticut native Benedict Arnold and a force of 1,600 British soldiers and loyalists took Fort Griswold and burnt New London to the ground. The brutality of the invasion galvanized the new nation, and “Remember New London!” would become a rallying cry for troops under General Lafayette. In Homegrown Terror, Eric D. Lehman chronicles the events leading up to the attack and highlights this key transformation in Arnold—the point where he went from betraying his comrades to massacring his neighbors and destroying their homes. This defining incident forever marked him as a symbol of evil, turning an antiheroic story about weakness of character and missed opportunity into one about the nature of treachery itself. Homegrown Terror draws upon a variety of perspectives, from the traitor himself to his former comrades like Jonathan Trumbull and Silas Deane, to the murdered Colonel Ledyard. Rethinking Benedict Arnold through the lens of this terrible episode, Lehman sheds light on the ethics of the dawning nation, and the way colonial America responded to betrayal and terror.

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The Logbooks

Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory

Anne Farrow

In 1757, a sailing ship owned by an affluent Connecticut merchant sailed from New London to the tiny island of Bence in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to take on fresh water and slaves. On board was the owner’s son, on a training voyage to learn the trade. The Logbooks explores that voyage, and two others documented by that young man, to unearth new realities of Connecticut’s slave trade and question how we could have forgotten this part of our past so completely.

When writer Anne Farrow discovered the significance of the logbooks for the Africa and two other ships in 2004, her mother had been recently diagnosed with dementia. As Farrow bore witness to the impact of memory loss on her mother’s sense of self, she also began a journey into the world of the logbooks and the Atlantic slave trade, eventually retracing part of the Africa’s long-ago voyage to Sierra Leone. As the narrative unfolds in The Logbooks, Farrow explores the idea that if our history is incomplete, then collectively we have forgotten who we are—a loss that is in some ways similar to what her mother experienced. Her meditations are well rounded with references to the work of writers, historians, and psychologists. Forthright, well researched, and warmly recounted, Farrow’s writing is that of a novelist’s, with an eye for detail. Using a wealth of primary sources, she paints a vivid picture of the eighteenth-century Connecticut slavers. The multiple narratives combine in surprising and effective ways to make this an intimate confrontation with the past, and a powerful meditation on how slavery still affects us.

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New Haven’s Sentinels

The Art and Science of East Rock and West Rock

Jelle Zeilinga de Boer

West Rock and East Rock are bold and beautiful features around New Haven, Connecticut. They resemble monumental gateways (or time-tried sentinels) and represent a moment in geologic time when the North American and African continents began to separate and volcanism affected much of Connecticut. The rocks attracted the attention of poets, painters, and naturalists when beliefs rose about the spiritual dimensions of nature in the early 19th century. More than two dozen artists, including Frederick Church, George Durrie, and John Weir, captured their magic and produced an assortment of classic American landscapes. In the same period, the science of geology evolved rapidly, triggered by the controversy between proponents and opponents of biblical explanations for the origin of rocks. Lavishly illustrated, featuring over sixty paintings and prints, this book is a perfect introduction to understanding the relationship of geology and art. It will delight those who appreciate landscape painting, and anyone who has seen the grandeur of East and West Rock.

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