Friday, June 13, 2014

Here Is Where by Andrew Carroll

Did you know that the first explorer to reach the top of Pikes Peak was a woman, Julia Ann Archibald Holmes?  That the oldest living tree, named Prometheus, was cut down in an afternoon by a scientist who wanted to study it?  That the Supreme Court used to have X-rated movie showing days back when the laws about obscenity were being tested?  That the 1918 Spanish Flu actually started in Kansas and before it was over killed fifty million people here and overseas, with 200,000 dying in the U.S. in thirty days?  These and other fascinating historical stories are showcased in Andrew Carroll's compelling new book, Here Is Where.

Carroll is fascinated with history and determined to find out the obscure tales and forgotten sites that make up the nation's life story.  Once he decided on this quest, he traveled the country finding the often overlooked places where those who contributed to our nation's history lived or worked.  He visited Hart's Island, the largest Potter's Field in the United States.  He visited the birthplace of the men who invented penicillin and then figured out how to get the medicine into mass distribution.  He visited the only original Declaration of Independence copy which is open to public display year-round.  He outlined the life of the man who was most responsible for preserving America's redwoods, Madison Grant, and went on to explain why he has been relegated to obscurity.  He visited the site of a plane crash discovered in the mountains fifty years after it occurred. 

The book is divided into several topics.  These include sections named Where to Begin, The World Before Us, This Land Is My Land, Landmark Cases, Sparks, Bitter Pills and Miracle Cures, Burial Plots and All Is Not Lost.  In each topic, Carroll's love of history and his determination not to allow it to be lost is evident.  The reader will come away from this book with many new stories and an appreciation for all the stories that didn't make it into the history books we used in school.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy history and travel, as well as for those interested in the accomplishments most people don't know about. 

A free copy of this book was received from Blogging For Books for this review.

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