FC 83 – Rebecca Dickinson with Marla R. Miller

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Marla R. Miller, author of the book Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman.

Bio – Marla R. Miller

Marla R. Miller, a historian of early American women and work, has made a career uncovering the lives of women who left little in the way of documentary record. She is a professor of Marla Miller on Fieldstone Commonhistory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and directs the Public History program there. She has won the Organization of American Historians’ Lerner-Scott Prize for the best dissertation on women’s history and the 1997 Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Colonial History.

This is Marla’s second visit to Fieldstone Common. She appeared on the July 4th, 2013 episode to talk about her other book, Betsy Ross and the Making of America.

Book Summary

Rebecca Dickinson’s powerful voice, captured through excerpts from the pages of her journal, allows colonial and revolutionary-era New England to come alive. Dickinson’s life illustrates the dilemmas faced by many Americans in the decades before, during, and after the American Revolution, as well as the paradoxes presented by an unmarried woman who earned her own living and made her own way in the small town where she was born. Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman, uses Dickinson’s world as a lens to introduce readers to the everyday experience of living in the colonial era and the social, cultural, and economic challenges faced in the transformative decades surrounding the American Revolution.

Publication InfoRebecca Dickinson with Marla Miller on Fieldstone Common

Title: Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman

Publisher: Westview Press (2014)

Trade Paperback; 194 pages with a list or primary sources, end notes, bibliographic essay and an index.

Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Marla and I talk about the diary that acted as the background for Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman. Rebecca lived through American Revolution to see the birth of the United States. She remained unmarried and supported herself independently as a gown maker. Though she had several proposals of marriage she rejected them. Her life was a careful balance of conscious independence and loneliness.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winner

One copy of Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Womanwas given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Westview Press.

The winner is:

  • Debra Cravens of Wisconsin

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Westview Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is
www.fieldstonecommon.com/rebecca-dickinson-marla-miller

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 83)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 83 is the number of the episode.

 

FC 82 Annie’s Ghosts with Steve Luxenberg

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Steve Luxenberg, author of the book Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret.

Bio – Steve Luxenberg

Steve Luxenberg, an associate editor at The Washington Post and author of the award-winning Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret, has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Annie's Ghosts with Steve Luxenberg on Fieldstone Common

photo by Josh Luxenberg

Steve’s journalistic career began at The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for 11 years. He joined The Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, Steve succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff. Post reporters working with Steve have won several major reporting awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for explanatory journalism.

Annie’s Ghosts was named to The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2009 list and was honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2010 by the Library of Michigan. It was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and on the Diane Rehm Show. Other media coverage included articles or reviews in Parade, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Buffalo News, the Jerusalem Post.

Steve is a graduate of Harvard College. He grew up in Detroit. He and his wife, Mary Jo Kirschman, a former school librarian, live in Baltimore.

Book Summary

Beth Luxenberg was an only child. Or so everyone thought. Six months after Beth’s death, her secret emerged. It had a name: Annie.

Newly selected as a Great Michigan Read 2013-14 and a Michigan Notable Book for 2010.

One of the Washington Post Book World’s “Best Books of 2009,” Memoir.

 

Publication InfoAnnie's Ghosts with Steve Luxenberg on Fieldstone Common

Title: Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret

Publisher: Hyperion Books (2009)

Trade Paperback; 432 pages; with list of recurring characters, end notes, index and some BxW photos.

Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Steve and I talk about the decision behind prying into a family member’s private life, which they’ve kept secret, after they’ve died. We talk about identity – our own identity and other people’s perception of that identity. We dig into the topic of secrets and whether they should be kept or released. And, of course, we dig into the big secret in his family, that his mother had a sister, despite claiming all her adult life that she was an only child. Steve did much more than a reasonably exhaustive search for the research behind this book. His investigative skills and tenacity are a real lesson and inspiration for any historical researcher.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winner

One copy of Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Hyperion Books.

The winner is:

  • Roberta Hunt of Indiana

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Hyperion Books for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is
www.fieldstonecommon.com/annies-ghosts-with-steve-luxenberg

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 82)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 82 is the number of the episode.

 

FC 81 Through a Different Lens with Tasha Caswell

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Tasha Caswell, curator of the exhibit Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers at the Connecticut Historical Society.

Bio – Tasha Caswell

Tasha Caswell on Fieldstone Common

photo by Kyle Sprague

Tasha Caswell is the Thorne-McKenna Curatorial Assistant at the Connecticut Historical Society. Since last October, she has been working to catalog and digitize the photographs by Harriet V.S. Thorne and Rosalie Thorne McKenna that were recently given to CHS by the Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation. Tasha has degrees from Ryerson University and George Eastman House, the University of Toronto, and Lewis & Clark College. She recently completed a ten-month student residency at George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, where she catalogued 19th- and 20th-century and contemporary photographic and audiovisual materials.

Book Summary

This exhibition at the Connecticut Historical Society (October 11, 2013 – March 29, 2014) presents the work of three female photographers, who came from very different places in Connecticut history and society. Each of their photographs is a record of personal and local history, a picture of the people, landscapes, and buildings of Connecticut. Together they reveal how women have taken part in amateur and professional photography from the late 1800s into the mid 1900s.

Publication Info Through a Different Lens: Connecticut Women Photographers

Title: Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers

Publisher: Connecticut Historical Society (2013)

Exhibition Publication, 38 pages

Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographers is available for purchase fromthe Connecticut Historical Society.

The Interview

Tasha and I spoke about the three pioneering women photographers featured in the exhibit: Harriet Van Schoonhoven Thorne (1843-1926), Rosalie Thorne McKenna (1916-2003) and Marie Hartig Kendall (1854-1943). Harriet Thorne was from a wealthy family and focused her photography on portraits, mostly of her family. Her great granddaughter, Rosalie McKenna became a professional photographer before discovering her own ancestor’s connection with photography. She also did mostly portraits with some photos of Stonington, Connecticut where she lived. Marie Hartig Kendall, was a photographer and business woman who sold her photographs where ever she could. She focused extensively on the town of Norfolk, Connecticut. We also talked about what a curator looks for when creating an exhibit.

Links mentioned during the interview:

Prize Winners

One copy of Through a Different Lens: Three Connecticut Women Photographerswas given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society.

The winner is:

  • Leslie Wolfgang of Connecticut

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to the Connecticut Historical Society for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is
www.fieldstonecommon.com/different-lens-tasha-caswell

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 81)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 81 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

 

FC 77 The Manor with Mac Griswold

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Mac Griswold, author of the book The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island.

Bio – Mac Griswold

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374266298?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0374266298&linkCode=xm2&tag=marsrooram-20

Mac Griswold photo by Sigrid Estrada

Mac Griswold is an acclaimed cultural landscape historian and writer. Rooted in a childhood spent exploring the castles and towers of lush north central New Jersey, Mac went on to study landscape design at the Radcliffe Seminars and horticulture at the New York Botanical Gardens.

She is the author of Washington’s Gardens at Mount Vernon: Landscape of the Inner Man, Pleasure of the Garden: Images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Golden Age of American Gardens: Proud Owners, Private Estates, with Eleanor Weller.

She taught landscape history at Sarah Lawrence College, where she was a recipient of the Noble Chair in Art and Cultural History, and has lectured widely in America and Europe. A Guggenheim fellow, she has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Travel + Leisure.

You can learn more about Mac Griswold at her author website, www.macgriswold.com. Learn more about Sylvestor Manor from their website, www.sylvestermanor.org.

Book Summary

Mac Griswold’s The Manor is the biography of a uniquely American place that has endured through wars great and small, through fortunes won and lost, through histories bright and sinister—and of the family that has lived there since its founding as a New England slave plantation three and a half centuries ago.

In 1984, the landscape historian Mac Griswold was rowing along a Long Island creek when she came upon a stately yellow house and a garden guarded by looming boxwoods. She instantly knew that boxwoods that large—twelve feet tall, fifteen feet wide—had to be hundreds of years old. So, as it happened, was the house: Sylvester Manor had been held in the same family for eleven generations.

Formerly encompassing all of Shelter Island, a pearl of 8,000 acres caught between the North and South Forks of Long Island, the manor had dwindled to 243 acres. Still, its hidden vault proved to be full of revelations and treasures, including the 1666 charter for the land, and correspondence from Thomas Jefferson. Most notable was the short and steep flight of steps the family had called the “slave staircase,” which would provide clues to the extensive but little-known story of Northern slavery. Alongside a team of archaeologists, Griswold began a dig that would uncover a landscape bursting with stories.

Based on years of archival and field research, as well as voyages to Africa, the West Indies, and Europe, The Manor is at once an investigation into forgotten lives and a sweeping drama that captures our history in all its richness and suffering.

 

Book InfoThe Manor by Mac Griswold on Fieldstone Common

Title: The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island

Publisher: Farrar, Strouss & Giroux (2013)

Hardcover; 273 pages with end notes, a bibliography, an index as well as BxW photos.

The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Mac Griswold and I discuss the 17th century origins of Nathaniel Sylvester and his wife Grizell Brinley who developed the Manor on Shelter Island, Long Island, New York.  The home remains in the hands of descendants of the same family today. Slavery existed on Sylvester Manor as well as on Constant Plantation in Barbados, the estate of Nathaniel’s brother Sylvester. Mac makes interesting use of a treasure trove of original records and we discuss what was available and how it helped her research for the book.

Prize Winners

One copy of The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Farrar, Strouss & Giroux.

The winner is:

  • Carol Ubosi of Maryland

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Farrar, Strouss & Giroux for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/the-manor-mac-griswold

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 77)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 77 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

 

FC 76 Dark Tide with Stephen Puleo

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Stephen Puleo, author of the book Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.

Bio – Stephen Puleo

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His books include

In 2008, Steve was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by the Appian Club, an Italian-American organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Massachusetts. In 2007, he received the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made important contributions to society.

A former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor of feature stories and book reviews to American History magazine and the Boston Globe, Puleo holds a master’s degree in history, for which he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Achievement, and was the Graduate Convocation keynote speaker. He teaches at Suffolk University in Boston.

You can learn more about Stephen Puelo at his author website, www.stephenpuleo.com. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Summary

Around noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston’s North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-“Oh my God!” he shouted to the other men, “Run!”

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn’t known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.

Book InfoDark Tide with Stephen Puleo on Fieldstone Common

Title: Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

Publisher: Beacon Press (2003)

Trade Paperback; 273 pages with bibliographic essay, an index and some BxW photos.

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

Dark Tide is so much more than just a book about a very unusual molasses flood. The book is set against the backdrop of WWI, the coming of prohibition and prejudice against immigrants. Steve and I talk about the building of the tank and how the political situation allowed it to be built in one of the most densely populated places in the United States. Steve reads a passage from one of the poignant moments at the bedside of a victim after the flood. We talk about the heros and the villains of the story and how the current events impacted their decisions. And lets not forget the anarchists! Sometimes we think that are current events are unique to us but this book proves that history repeats itself and we are none the wiser.

Prize Winners

One copy of Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Beacon Press.

The winner is:

  • Victor Jones of North Carolina

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Beacon Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/dark-tide-stephen-puleo

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 76)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 76 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

 

FC 75 Strong Boy with Christopher Klein

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Christopher Klein, author of the book Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero.

Bio – Christopher Klein

Christopher Klein is a history and travel writer and the author of two previous books, Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands: A Guide to the City’s Hidden Shores–which covers the rich history, recreational offerings, and heritage of each of the 34 islands that compose Strong Boy with Christopher Klein on Fieldstone Commonthe Boston Harbor Islands national park area–and The Die-Hard Sports Fan’s Guide to Boston.

A frequent contributor to The Boston Globe and History.com, he has also written for The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Harvard Magazine, Red Sox Magazine, ESPN.com, Smithsonian.com, and AmericanHeritage.com.

Christopher graduated summa cum laude and with honors from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is a member of the Boston Authors Club and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

You can learn more about Christopher Klein at his author website, www.ChristopherKlein.com and at his book website, www.strongboybook.com.
You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Summary

“I can lick any son-of-a-b— in the world.”

So boasted John L. Sullivan, the first modern heavyweight boxing champion of the world, a John L. Sullivan (Library of Congress photo)man who was the gold standard of American sport for more than a decade, and the first athlete to earn more than a million dollars. He had a big ego, big mouth, and bigger appetites. His womanizing, drunken escapades, and chronic police-blotter presence were godsends to a burgeoning newspaper industry. The larger-than-life boxer embodied the American Dream for late nineteenth-century immigrants as he rose from Boston’s Irish working class to become the most recognizable man in the nation. In the process, the “Boston Strong Boy” transformed boxing from outlawed bare-knuckle fighting into the gloved spectacle we know today.

Strong Boy tells the story of America’s first sports superstar, a self-made man who personified the power and excesses of the Gilded Age. Everywhere John L. Sullivan went, his fists backed up his bravado. Sullivan’s epic brawls, such as his 75-round bout against Jake Kilrain, and his cross-country barnstorming tour in which he literally challenged all of America to a fight are recounted in vivid detail, as are his battles outside the ring with a troubled marriage, wild weight and fitness fluctuations, and raging alcoholism. Strong Boy gives readers ringside seats to the colorful tale of one of the country’s first Irish-American heroes and the birth of the American sports media and the country’s celebrity obsession with athletes.

Book InfoStrong Boy with Christopher Klein on Fieldstone Common

Title: Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero

Publisher: Lyons Press (2013)

Hardcover; 353 pages with end notes, bibliography, an index and BxW photos.

Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Chris and I talk about John L. Sullivan the son of a humble Irish immigrant family who went on to achieve sports super stardom in the realm of boxing. The Irish had a difficult time, first with the famine in Ireland and then later with prejudice in America. John L. Sullivan had a fighting aptitude for boxing at a time when the rules of boxing were changing.  Gone were the rules that allowed for barefisted fighting, hair pulling and wrestling. These were replaced with more civilized rules including the use of gloves and three-minute rounds.  With fame also came alcoholism and other vices for John L. Sullivan. Surprisingly after his retirement from boxing Sullivan continued to be a sought after star in the theatre and other areas.  In 1905 he gave up drinking and embraced the temperance movement.  Author Christoper Klein regards John L. Sullivan as America’s First Sports Hero.

Prize Winners

One copy of Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Lyons Press.

The winner is: :

  • Bruce Longley of New York
  • Margaret Sullivan of Massachusetts

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Lyons Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/strong-boy-christopher-klein

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 75)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 75 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

FC 74 The Dawn of American Independence with Brian Deming

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Brian Deming, author of the book Boston and the Dawn of American Independence.

Bio – Brian Deming

Brian Deming, author of Boston and the Dawn of American Independence on Fieldstone CommonBrian Deming grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a master’s degree in American history from Northwestern University. He was a newspaper reporter in Brighton and Jackson, Michigan, and in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He also worked as a magazine editor and freelance journalist in Munich, Prague, Tokyo, Manila, San Francisco, and Chicago, as well as Watertown, Massachusetts, and taught American history at the University of New York in Prague. His other books are Jackson, An Illustrated History; Hitler and Munich (with Ted Iliff); and Wind Time, Wolf Time (a novel about the Thirty Years War). He and his wife live in Toronto, where he works as a freelance editor.

You can learn more about Brian Deming at his website, Boston Dawn.

Book Summary

In 1760, no one could imagine the American colonies revolting against Great Britain. The colonists were not hungry peasants groaning under the whip of a brute. They lived well. Land was cheap, wages were good, opportunities abounded. While many colonists hadBrian Deming, author of Boston and the Dawn of American Independence on Fieldstone Common been in the New World for generations, they identified with Britain, and England was still “home.” Yet in the space of just fifteen years these sturdy bonds snapped. Boston—a town of just 16,000—lit the fire for American Independence. Brian Deming explains how and why in his lucid, lively, and deeply researched Boston and the Dawn of American Independence.

To dodge British taxes, Boston merchants for as long as anyone could remember had routinely smuggled in molasses from French and Spanish possessions in the Caribbean. Boston distillers transformed this sweet cargo into rum, the liquid gold traded around the world. But British authorities cracked down on smuggling and imposed the Sugar Act to help pay for the debts incurred during their wars against France. Then came the hated Stamp Act, a tax on documents, newspapers, and printed materials of all kinds. In courtrooms, in the press, and in the streets, Bostonians rallied in protest against taxation without representation. As anger swept America, Boston was at the center of the storm, which burst forth with the infamous massacre and the Boston Tea Party. By 1775, open warfare erupted at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. Boston and the Dawn of American Independence ties these scenes together with the people of the time, including John and Sam Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere, as well as Thomas Hutchinson, the beleaguered Massachusetts royal governor, and James Otis, the bombastic, unstable early patriot. Readers hear their voices, but also those of many amazing, colorful, and memorable personalities— feisty mob leaders, defiant Tories, terrified townspeople. Deming illuminates this epic story with views of everyday life inside taverns, outside newspaper offices, and along the wharves, and the political dramas in London and Philadelphia that shaped the destiny of an empire and gave rise to the world’s first modern democracy.

Book InfoBrian Deming author of Boston and the Dawn of American Independence on Fieldstone Common

Title: Boston and the Dawn of American Independence

Publisher: Westholme Publishing (2013)

Hardcover; 508 pages with end notes, bibliography, an index and BxW photos and illustrations.

Boston and the Dawn of American Independence is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Brian and I talk about the characters involved in politics at the start of the American Revolution such as Thomas Hutchinson, James Otis Jr., Sam Adams, John Hancock and many more. We also talked about the women of the Revolutionary era in Boston such as Jane Mecom, Mercy Otis Warren and Abigail Adams. Since the book was quite a detailed undertaking we talked about Brian’s process for writing and footnoting all the information. At the very end we get into a brief discussion about journalism and all the places his career has taken him over the years.

Prize Winners

One copy of Boston and the Dawn of American Independence was given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Westholme Publishing.

The winner is: :

  • Rich Sandler of Oregon

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to Westholme Publishing for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/american-independence-brian-deming/

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 74)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 74 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

FC 73 Becoming Tom Thumb with Eric Lehman

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Eric D. Lehman, author of the book Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P. T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity.

Bio

Eric D. Lehman directs the creative writing program at the University of Bridgeport, as well as teaching both writing and literature. Although he has taught over twenty different courses, his signature class is the Literature of Travel and Adventure. He is the editor of the school literary magazine, Groundswell, and of the faculty essay series, The Have you listened to the interview with George Morgan and Drew Smith yet? You won't want to miss this one! www.FieldstoneCommon.comCommons. In his spare time, he researches Henry Miller, writing academic essays for Nexus: The International Henry Miller Journal.

In addition to Becoming Tom Thumb, Eric has published six books including: A History of Connecticut Wine: Vineyard in Your Backyard, Bridgeport: Tales from the Park City, Hamden: Tales from the Sleeping Giant; Insiders’ Guide to Connecticut, A History of Connecticut Food, co-written with his wife, and Afoot in Connecticut.

Eric is also an editor of and contributor to the Connecticut Literary Collective, a guide to literary journals for Connecticut writers. His essays, reviews, poems, and stories have been published in dozens of journals and magazines such as The Writer, Gastronomica, Antique Trader, and the New Haven Review.

Originally from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, he moved to Connecticut fifteen years ago and fell in love with the state. He believes that history and travel help us know the place we live, and therefore know ourselves.

You can learn more about Eric Lehman at his website.

Book Summary

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. Gravestone of General Tom Thumb aka Charles StrattonWith 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.

Book InfoBecoming Tom Thumb by Eric D. Lehman on Fieldstone Common

Title: Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P. T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity

Publisher: Wesleyan University Press (2013)

Hardcover; 246 pages with end notes, bibliography, an index and BxW photos and illustrations.

Becoming Tom Thumb is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Eric and I talk about Charles Stratton, the successful man. It’s hard to call him Tom Thumb after reading this book and seeing him as a real person. This story will challenge all the preconceived notions you have of General Tom Thumb. He was smart, talented, entertaining and a leader in his community. We discuss, as well, the success of P.T. Barnum and the prejudices faced by little people later in the 19th century.

Prize Winners

Two copies of Becoming Tom Thumb were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of Wesleyan University Press.

The winners are:

  • Joan Conklin of Massachusetts
  • Melinda Tarbox of Texas

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to Wesleyan University Press for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/becoming-tom-thumb-eric-lehman/

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 73)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 73 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

 

FC 71 Cambridge Cameos with Roger Thompson

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Roger Thompson, author of the book Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in 17th Century New England.

Roger is our first Fieldstone Common guest to make a second appearance on the show. He first appeared discussing his book From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts 1629-1692. Roger lives in England so when he was visiting the United States this past summer I took advantage of fitting in a second interview with him.

This interview is a little different. It is not done in a studio but recorded live at his summer Cambridge Cameos with Roger Thomoson on Fieldstone Commonresidence in the very busy, bustling and noisy city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. So we will have some ambiance noise from this city in the background of the interview. I hope you won’t find that too distracting. It seems fitting somehow that we spoke in the heart of Cambridge since our discussion centered on the early history of that city.

Bio

Roger Thompson is emeritus professor of American Colonial History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England.

In addition to From Deference to Defiance, Roger Thompson has written:

Book Summary

Cambridge Cameos contains forty-four sketches from the period 1651 to 1686 that combine good stories, intriguing personalities, and incidents involving mostly ordinary Cambridge people. They are based on thousands of original documents; virtually all primary sources with any bearing on the early history of Cambridge. Drawing on his vast knowledge of Middlesex County families and on his equally vast experience in the town and court records of that county, Roger Thompson has composed a number of delightful vignettes of early residents of the town of Cambridge. He provides us with a rare opportunity to hear these early New Englanders speak for themselves and to experience seventeenth-century life as directly as possible.

Book Info Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in Seventeenth-Century New England

Title: Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in 17th Century New England

Publisher: New England Historic Genealogical Society (2005)

Trade paperback; 355 pages with 2 appendices, footnotes notes, and an index.

Cambridge Cameos is available for purchase from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Roger and I dive into all the fascinating aspects of life in the 1600s in Cambridge from the unusual ways people paid for their Harvard tuition to the culture of discipline and why female healers were often accused of witchcraft.

Prize Winners

Two copies of Cambridge Cameos were given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

The winners are:

  • Jean Smoorenburg of Texas
  • Cynthia Bishop of Virginia

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to the New England Historic Genealogical Society for their generosity in donating the books!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

The Direct Link to this post is www.fieldstonecommon.com/cambridge-cameos-roger-thompson/

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 70)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 70 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.

 

FC 65 A Little Commonwealth with John Demos

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Professor John Demos, author of the books The Unredeemed Captive; Entertaining Satan; and A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. In this episode we discuss these books as well as his career and the state of history in America.

Bio

John Demos was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated from A Little Commonwealth with John Demos on Fieldstone CommonHarvard College, and received his graduate training at Oxford, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. He has taught at Brandeis and at Yale, where he is the Samuel Knight Professor Emeritus of American History. Some of his books include A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, for which he received the 1983 Bancroft Prize, and Past, Present, and Personal: The Family and the Life Course in American History. Demos’ The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America received the National Book Award in 1994. More recently he published Circles and Lines: The Shape of Life in Early America.

Book Summaries

Professor John Demos is an expert in early American history. His book A Little The Unredeemed Captive by John DemosCommonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony recreates the life and family structures of members of Plymouth colony in the 17th century. In Entertaining Satan Demos provides an overview of witchcraft in New England in the 17th and 18th centuries. His work The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America focuses on the 1704 Indian raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts. The book describes the taking of the Williams family and the choice of daughter Eunice to remain among the Mohawk community.

Book Info

Books by John Demos:

The Interview

In this interview we discuss how John Demos came to be a history professor and the influence of his years in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. We talk about the influence of his book as well as those of three colleagues Ken Lockridge, Philip Greven, and Michael Zuckerman who all wrote seminal New England town studies in the early 1970s which changed the focus of Early American history.

We discussed three of his books – A Little Commonwealth, The Unredeemed Captive and Entertaining Satan and the influences they had on interpreting Early American history. Demos credits Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum for their theory of explaining the Salem Witch Trials on an economic basis in their book Salem Possessed.

His later research into witchcraft was metaphorical as exemplified by the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

John has grown to love material culture and that has manifested in his passion for collecting antiques.

He has had a great influence on a generation of new writer-historians including Jill Lepore, Allegra di Bonaventura, Jack Larkin, Jane Kamensky, Wendy Warren, Peter Silver and many more.

In early 2014 be on the lookout for his next book The Heathen School (Knopf, 2014).

Bonus List

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

News & Announcements

BIG NEWS for Android users! Fieldstone Common is now available in the Android app Stitcher. Stitcher is a program like iTunes but is available on the Android platform. Download Stitcher and search for Fieldstone Common or click here.

Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 65)?

Answer: That makes it easier, especially for iTunes and other podcast listeners, to keep track of which episode they are listening to. FC stands for Fieldstone Common and 65 is the number of the episode.

**** The new Fieldstone Common Season 2 subscription is now available in iTunes. You will need to subscribe to this link to continue receiving episodes in ITunes. Click on the link to subscribe.

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Fieldstone Common is no longer broadcast on Blog Talk Radio. You can listen to the show by clicking the play button above or subscribing in iTunes or other podcatchers.