Book of the Week (10/11/2021)

A Deep Presence: 13,000 Years of Native American History by Robert Goodby (Peter E. Randall Publisher, 2021).

Almost 13,000 years ago, small groups of Paleoindians endured frigid winters on the edge of a river in what would become Keene, New Hampshire.

This begins the remarkable story of Native Americans in the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire, part of the traditional homeland of the Abenaki people.

Typically neglected or denied by conventional history, the long presence of Native people in southwestern New Hampshire is revealed by archaeological evidence for their deep, enduring connections to the land and the complex social worlds they inhabited.

From the Tenant Swamp Site in Keene, with the remains of the oldest known dwellings in New England, to the 4,000-year-old Swanzey Fish Dam still visible in the Ashuelot River, A Deep Presence tells their story in a narrative fashion, drawing on the author's thirty years of fieldwork and presenting compelling evidence from archaeology, written history, and the living traditions of today's Abenaki people.-- Publisher's blurb.

NH author and Franklin Pierce Professor, Robert Goodby, will be discussing and signing A Deep Presence: 13,000 Years of Native American History, in an outdoor event at The Monadnock Center on Grove St in Peterborough on Saturday, October 16th at 11 am. 

"Professor Goodby has done extensive archeological work on the Abenaki tribes that inhabited this area. His digs have revealed their presence going back to the end of the ice age and include sites in Keene, Hinsdale, and Peterborough. His fully illustrated new book is a fascinating and informative tour of the sites. The Toadstool Bookshop is presenting this event in conjunction with The Monadnock Center For History And Culture. It will be held in the Peterson Courtyard on their grounds. Guests are invited to bring a chair or blanket for comfort while enjoying the talk."

For more information, visit: https://www.toadbooks.com/event/peterborough-robert-goodby-discusses-his-book-native-american-presence-nh


Book of the Week (10/4/2021)

On the Hoof: Pacific to Atlantic, A 3,800-Mile Adventure by Jesse Alexander McNeil (North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Books, 2021).

Warner, NH native Jesse Alexander McNeil documents his travels from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean on an untrained horse in 'On the Hoof'.

"The true tale of a voyage that broke a man down and built him back up, with the help of one special horse.
At 36 Jesse McNeil―at times carpenter, commercial fisherman, dabbler in real estate―decided to buy an untrained horse, make himself into a horseman, and ride all the way across the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

A fiercely independent traveler, Jesse had navigated previous coast-to-coast trips― solo journeys by moped, bicycle, and small airplane. This time, however, he had a partner: a five-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse named Pepper. An inexperienced horseman with an equally inexperienced mount, Jesse would quickly discover the immense challenges of his new undertaking. Over the course of eight months and fourteen states—beginning in Oregon and ending on a beach in New Hampshire—he would be tested many times over as he learned not only what it took to keep Pepper safe and healthy, but the true value of qualities that he had once easily dismissed: patience and companionship.

The generosity of strangers, from helpful ranchers and storekeepers to suburban families, shaped the pair’s journey east. And while at some points the miles didn’t unfold as Jesse hoped, others yielded unexpected events that changed his perspective―and quite possibly, his future. Written with honesty, grit, and grace, On the Hoof captures an arduous voyage that broke a man down and built him back up, with the help of one special horse." --Publisher's blurb


Book of the Week (9/27/2021)

Traveling with the Atom: A Scientific Guide to Europe and Beyond by Glen E Rodgers (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019).

Traveling with the Atom is a historical travel guide to the development of one of the most significant and enduring ideas in the history of humankind: the atomic concept. This history covers the notable places and landmarks commemorating this achievement, visiting homesteads, graveyards, laboratories, apartments, abbeys and castles, through picturesque rural villages and working class municipalities. From Montreal to Manchester, via some of the most elegant and romantic cities in Europe, Traveling with the Atom guides the reader on a trip through the lives and minds of the great thinkers who collectively unveiled the mystery of the atom. Fully illustrated and interspersed with intriguing and insightful notes throughout, this book is an ideal companion for the wandering scientist, their students, friends and companions or quintessential fireside reading for lovers of science and travel. -- Back cover.

View a talk from the author about this book on YouTube.


Book of the Week (9/20/2021)

Lady Editor: Sarah Josepha Hale and the Making of the Modern American Woman by Melanie Kirkpatrick (New York : Encounter Books, 2021).

NH native, writer, activist, and editor Sarah Josepha Hale led an impressive and influential life. 'Lady Editor' tells the details of this life. 

"For half a century Sarah Josepha Hale was the most influential woman in America. As editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, Hale was the leading cultural arbiter for the growing nation. Women (and many men) turned to her for advice on what to read, what to cook, how to behave, and―most important―what to think. Twenty years before the declaration of women’s rights in Seneca Falls, NY, Sarah Josepha Hale used her powerful pen to promote women’s right to an education, to work, and to manage their own money.

There is hardly an aspect of nineteenth-century culture in which Hale did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. She was one of the first editors to promote American authors writing on American themes. Her stamp of approval advanced the reputations of Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She wrote the first antislavery novel, compiled the first women’s history book, and penned the most recognizable verse in the English language, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Americans’ favorite holiday―Thanksgiving―wouldn’t exist without Hale. Re-imagining the New England festival as a patriotic national holiday, she conducted a decades-long campaign to make it happen. Abraham Lincoln took up her suggestion in 1863 and proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving.

Most of the women’s equity issues that Hale championed have been achieved, or nearly so. But women’s roles in the “domestic sphere” are arguably less valued today than in Hale’s era. Her beliefs about women’s obligations to family, moral leadership, and principal role in raising children continue to have relevance at a time when many American women think feminism has failed them. We could benefit from re-examining her arguments to honor women’s special roles and responsibilities.

Lady Editor re-creates the life of a major nineteenth-century woman, whose career as a writer, editor, and early feminist encompassed ideas central to American history." --Publisher's blurb