As someone interested in history, I was quickly drawn to the tag, "A fascinating journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived." What hidden gems exist across the nation, the story behind the story, those odd tidbits of knowledge that make you take pause and realize how small our vast world can be as events intertwine with each other. How could one not sit down to read a book that describes the spot where Abraham Lincoln's son was saved by the brother of Lincoln's assassin?
My other interest in this book comes from being a homeschool parent of a high school aged kid. This dear child of mine actually does love history, just not American history, she has a preference for early European history. This holds true for her friend that she will be doing history with this year, and well, it is American history, so neither is jumping for joy. I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book, thinking this will be a wonderful addition to history next year, a chance to add some fun out of the ordinary history information to help bring things to life for these girls. How much success I have is yet to be seen, but as I pull together my various resources to cull information from I am hopeful that a bit of a spark can be lit and they will find a part of our history just as intriguing as that from Europe.
So where does all this lead me? I found my interest in the individual stories varied, some had great appeal and left me wanting to know more information. The stories are brief, a snapshot of history, encapsulating an entire event within just a few pages. This has both an upside and a downside. The upside, the shortness allows someone to grab bits and pieces from the book as time allows, the downside, wanting more meat, not needing additional resources to round out the story. However, this works well for sparking an interest, I am hoping a few of the stories will provoke a desire to learn more, allowing the girls to do their own research to fill in their knowledge of a time period, event or person.
A starting point for additional resources is found in the back of the book under the Acknowledgements and Sources section, each story is given a space detailing out the people Carroll spoke to and any additional articles or books he may have obtained information from. I do wish the resource material showed in list form (typical bibliography style) versus in a paragraph form, it makes them a bit harder to decipher.
The stories are broken up into sections with a few stories in each. Sections include:
I. Where to Begin: Starting Points
II. The World Before Us: Coming to, Exploring, and Conserving America
III. This Land is my Land: The Dark Side of Expansion and Growth
IV: Landmark Cases: Crimes and Lawsuits That Changed the Nation
V: Sparks: Inventions and Technological Advancements
VI: Bitter Pills and Miracle Cures: Medical Pioneers and Discoveries
VII: Burial Plots: Forgotten Graves, Cemeteries, and Stories About the Dead
VIII: All is Not Lost: Finding and Preserving History
Overall an interesting book, and who knows, maybe something important happened in your hometown and you haven't a clue about it as time has worn on and allowed the importance to be brushed over. Those that aren't fans of non-fiction history books should still find this a worthwhile read. The shortness of the stories and writing style, more like talking to your best friend versus reading a boring (to some) history book should be just enough of a burst of knowledge to not be overwhelming. On the other hand, this style will likely be a bit too relaxed for a true history buff that doesn't appreciate it for the value it does hold. I see this as an opportunity to perhaps turn other people into a lover (or least someone that can like) of history, show them that history can be interesting and not just a textboo
An excerpt from the book can be found here, it covers the story of Dr. Maurice Hilleman's birthplace. Maurice Hilleman was a microbiologist specializing in Vaccinology. He developed most of the common vaccinations we use today, including those for the measles, mumps and chickenpox. This fascinating story tells a brief history of Dr. Hilleman's accomplishments, too bad he didn't finish writing his autobiography before he passed away. I found the few pages intriguing enough to research if there are any books written about Hilleman's accomplishments (a sign this book has done its job). A quick search turned up Vaccinated: Triumph, Controversy, and An Uncertain F by Paul A. Offit M.D.
Andrew Carroll is the executive director of the American Poetry & Literacy Project, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that promotes literacy and encourages a greater public awareness of poetry. The author of several books, he lives in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of Random House)
Andrew Carroll is the founder of the Legacy Project, an archival project of wartime correspondences to honor and remember those that have served our nation by preserving their letters. Interested in helping, stop by the website and learn how you can help preserve a piece of history by donating copies of wartime letters tucked away in your family memory books or that shoebox hidden in the closet.
Carroll's other works include:
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars - A collection of letters from the from the front lines of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf war, Somalia, and Bosnia. A powerful collection of historical records from the common soldiers to the likes of Gen. William T. Sherman, Theodore Roosevelt, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, and even Julia Child.
Letters of a Nation - A collection of over 200 letters spanning over 350 years of American history. Raw human emotions from all walks of life, slaves to presidents and everything in between. From the seriousness of Harry Truman defending his use of the atomic bomb to Elvis Presley writing to Richard Nixon on fighting drugs in America.
Hardback release date: May 14, 2013
Paperback Edition: 978-0-307-46398-2
Kindle Edition: B003EI2E8G
FTC disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not financially compensated by the publisher or the author.
Title: Here is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
Author: Andrew Carroll
Publisher: Three Rivers Press, imprint of crown Publishing Group, division of Random House LLC; (2014)
Source: Personal Library (ARC)
Format Read: Advanced Reader Paperback from publisher (Random House LLC)
Genres/Subjects: History, American History, Non-Fiction, Travel
[Notice: Original posting 2014-08-12 at Plethora of Books Blog: http://bookchallenges.weebly.com]
Tags: 2014, ARC, History