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Chesapeake Requiem Book Summary : A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction "Beautiful, haunting and true." — Hampton Sides • "Powerful. A tale of our time, movingly told." — Bill McKibben • Wonderful, poetic, stirring. An elegy to a disappearing way of life." — Callum Roberts • "An important book." — Library Journal Tangier Island, Virginia, is a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud is home to 470 hardy people who live an isolated and challenging existence, with one foot in the 21st century and another in times long passed. They are separated from their countrymen by the nation’s largest estuary, and a twelve-mile boat trip across often tempestuous water—the same water that for generations has made Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world. Yet for all of its long history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. The very water that has long sustained it is erasing the island day by day, wave by wave. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and still its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning this storied place will likely succumb first among U.S. towns to the effects of climate change. Experts reckon that, barring heroic intervention by the federal government, islanders could be forced to abandon their home within twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the graves of their forebears are being sprung open by encroaching tides, and the conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times. Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways. What emerges is the poignant tale of a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a leading-edge report on the coming fate of countless coastal communities.
Journey on the James Book Summary : From its beginnings as a trickle of icy water in Virginia's northwest corner to its miles-wide mouth at Hampton Roads, the James River has witnessed more recorded history than any other feature of the American landscape -- as home to the continent's first successful English settlement, highway for Native Americans and early colonists, battleground in the Revolution and the Civil War, and birthplace of America's twentieth-century navy. In 1998, restless in his job as a reporter for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, Earl Swift landed an assignment traveling the entire length of the James. He hadn't been in a canoe since his days as a Boy Scout, and he knew that the river boasts whitewater, not to mention man-made obstacles, to challenge even experienced paddlers. But reinforced by Pilot photographer Ian Martin and a lot of freeze-dried food and beer, Swift set out to immerse himself -- he hoped not literally -- in the river and its history. What Swift survived to bring us is this engrossing chronicle of three weeks in a fourteen-foot plastic canoe and four hundred years in the life of Virginia. Fueled by humor and a dauntless curiosity about the land, buildings, and people on the banks, and anchored by his sidekick Martin -- whose photographs accompany the text -- Swift points his bow through the ghosts of a frontier past, past Confederate forts and POW camps, antebellum mills, ruined canals, vanished towns, and effluent-spewing industry. Along the banks, lonely meadowlands alternate with suburbs and power plants, marinas and the gleaming skyscrapers of Richmond's New South downtown. Enduring dunkings, wolf spiders, near-arrest, channel fever, and twenty-knot winds, Swift makes it to the Chesapeake Bay. Readers who accompany him through his Journey on the James will come away with the accumulated pleasure, if not the bruises and mud, of four hundred miles of adventure and history in the life of one of America's great watersheds.
The Big Roads Book Summary : Discover the twists and turns of one of America’s great infrastructure projects with this “engrossing history of the creation of the U.S. interstate system” (Los Angeles Times). It’s become a part of the landscape that we take for granted, the site of rumbling eighteen-wheelers and roadside rest stops, a familiar route for commuters and vacationing families. But during the twentieth century, the interstate highway system dramatically changed the face of our nation. These interconnected roads—over 47,000 miles of them—are man-made wonders, economic pipelines, agents of sprawl, uniquely American symbols of escape and freedom, and an unrivaled public works accomplishment. Though officially named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, this network of roadways has origins that reach all the way back to the World War I era, and The Big Roads—“the first thorough history of the expressway system” (The Washington Post)—tells the full story of how they came to be. From the speed demon who inspired a primitive web of dirt auto trails to the largely forgotten technocrats who planned the system years before Ike reached the White House to the city dwellers who resisted the concrete juggernaut when it bore down on their neighborhoods, this book reveals both the massive scale of this government engineering project, and the individual lives that have been transformed by it. A fast-paced history filled with fascinating detours, “the book is a road geek’s treasure—and everyone who travels the highways ought to know these stories” (Kirkus Reviews).
This was Chesapeake Bay Book Summary : Here is a collection of true accounts of the Chesapeake gathered from the lips and memories of the people who experienced them, from clipping files and ship registers, and from the author's own extensive collection -- people and places, shipbuilding, steamboating, oyster dredging, natural history -- the whole panoply of Bay lore.
Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars Book Summary : The story of Chesapeake pirates and patriots begins with a land dispute and ends with the untimely death of an oyster dredger at the hands of the Maryland Oyster Navy. From the golden age of piracy to Confederate privateers and oyster pirates, the maritime communities of the Chesapeake Bay are intimately tied to a fascinating history of intrigue, plunder and illicit commerce raiding. Author Jamie L.H. Goodall introduces infamous men like Edward "Blackbeard" Teach and "Black Sam" Bellamy, as well as lesser-known local figures like Gus Price and Berkeley Muse, whose tales of piracy are legendary from the harbor of Baltimore to the shores of Cape Charles.
Chesapeake Book Summary : In this classic novel, James A. Michener brings his grand epic tradition to bear on the four-hundred-year saga of America’s Eastern Shore, from its Native American roots to the modern age. In the early 1600s, young Edmund Steed is desperate to escape religious persecution in England. After joining Captain John Smith on a harrowing journey across the Atlantic, Steed makes a life for himself in the New World, establishing a remarkable dynasty that parallels the emergence of America. Through the extraordinary tale of one man’s dream, Michener tells intertwining stories of family and national heritage, introducing us along the way to Quakers, pirates, planters, slaves, abolitionists, and notorious politicians, all making their way through American history in the common pursuit of freedom. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener's Hawaii. Praise for Chesapeake “Another of James Michener’s great mines of narrative, character and lore.”—The Wall Street Journal “[A] marvelous panorama of history seen in the lives of symbolic people of the ages . . . An emotionally and intellectually appealing book.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Michener’s most ambitious work of fiction in theme and scope.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Magnificently written . . . one of those rare novels that is enthusiastically passed from friend to friend.”—Associated Press
Auto Biography Book Summary : A brilliant blend of Shop Class as Soulcraft and The Orchid Thief, Earl Swift's wise, funny, and captivating Auto Biography follows an outlaw auto dealer as he struggles to save a rusted '57 Chevy—a car that has already passed through twelve pairs of hands before his—while financial ruin, government bureaucrats and the FBI close in on him. Slumped among hundreds of other decrepit hulks on a treeless, windswept moor in eastern North Carolina, the Chevy evokes none of the Jet Age mystique that made it the most beloved car to ever roll off an assembly line. It's open to the rain. Birds nest in its seats. Officials of the surrounding county consider it junk. To Tommy Arney, it's anything but: It's a fossil of the twentieth-century American experience, of a place and a people utterly devoted to the automobile and changed by it in myriad ways. It's a piece of history—especially so because its flaking skin conceals a rare asset: a complete provenance, stretching back more than fifty years. So, hassled by a growing assortment of challengers, the Chevy's thirteenth owner—an orphan, grade-school dropout and rounder, a felon arrested seventy-odd times, and a man who's been written off as a ruin himself--embarks on a mission to save the car and preserve long record of human experience it carries in its steel and upholstery. Written for both gearheads and Sunday drivers, Auto Biography charts the shifting nature of the American Dream and our strange and abiding relationship with the automobile, through an iconic classic and an improbable, unforgettable hero.
Skipjack Book Summary : In Skipjack, Christopher White spends a pivotal year with three memorable captains, each at the helm of a wooden oystering sailboat unique to the Chesapeake Bay, in what has become the only wind-powered fishing fleet in America.
Beyond Vision Book Summary : In this unique and exhilarating autobiography, Allan Jones – Canada’s first blind diplomat – vividly describes how an untreatable eye disease slowly decimated his visual world, most challengingly during his postings in Tokyo and New Delhi, and how he discovered and took to heart the revelatory Indian philosophy that changed his life. Advaita Vedanta, the most iconoclastic and liberating of the classical Indian philosophies, profoundly altered the author’s experience of self and world. He found that the true self, as distinct from the individual ego, far exceeds the boundaries of individuality. It lies beneath sightedness or blindness and is absolutely unaffected by the latter. This welcome shift of perspective was reinforced by startling discoveries in contemporary physics, evolutionary biology, and developmental psychology that are fully consistent with Advaitic metaphysics. As for the practical applications of metaphysics, this book demonstrates step by step how Advaitic insight and practice significantly reduce physical and psychological tension. The most telling examples have to do with adjustments compelled by extreme circumstances. Thus Jones describes how he drew upon Advaitic mindfulness techniques to maintain his white cane mobility skills in the teeth of permanent spinal, nerve, and muscle pain. The arc of Beyond Vision moves from the claustrophobically personal to the openness of the transpersonal. It begins in a dysfunctional family background, breaking out into a full life encompassing an adventurous foreign service career, spiritual exploration, and an unconventional kind of marital love.
Finding Charity s Folk Book Summary : Finding Charity’s Folk highlights the experiences of enslaved Maryland women who negotiated for their own freedom, many of whom have been largely lost to historical records. Based on more than fifteen hundred manumission records and numerous manuscript documents from a diversity of archives, Jessica Millward skillfully brings together African American social and gender history to provide a new means of using biography as a historical genre. Millward opens with a striking discussion about how researching the life of a single enslaved woman, Charity Folks, transforms our understanding of slavery and freedom in Revolutionary America. For African American women such as Folks, freedom, like enslavement, was tied to a bondwoman’s reproductive capacities. Their offspring were used to perpetuate the slave economy. Finding loopholes in the law meant that enslaved women could give birth to and raise free children. For Millward, Folks demonstrates the fluidity of the boundaries between slavery and freedom, which was due largely to the gendered space occupied by enslaved women. The gendering of freedom influenced notions of liberty, equality, and race in what became the new nation and had profound implications for African American women’s future interactions with the state.
Where They Lay Book Summary : PEN/Martha Albrand Award Finalist: The suspenseful, “poignant” true story of the search for an American military pilot’s remains in Southeast Asia (James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers). Where They Lay is both an account of an elite military team’s high-tech, high-risk search for a Vietnam War pilot’s remains, and a moving retelling of his intense final hours. In far-flung rain forests and its futuristic lab near Pearl Harbor, the Central Identification Laboratory (CILHI) strives to recover and identify the bodies of fighting men who never came home from America’s wars. Its mission combines old-fashioned bushwhacking and detective work with the latest in forensic technology. Earl Swift accompanies a CILHI team into the Laotian jungle on a search for the remains of Maj. Jack Barker and his three-man crew, whose chopper went down in a fireball more than thirty years ago. He interweaves the story of the recovery team’s work with a tense account of Barker’s fatal attempt to rescue trapped soldiers during the largest helicopter assault in history. The first reporter ever allowed to follow a recovery mission—as these archaeological digs are called—in its entirety, Swift got his hands dirty, combing the jungle floor for clues amid vipers, monsoons, and unexploded bombs. In this “hands-on, thought-provoking” account, he reveals the dedication not only of the fallen servicemen but of the scientists who search for them, and explores questions about the cost of these missions and the corruption among native officials that may compromise them (Minneapolis Star-Tribune). “Informative . . . He interweaves accounts of a generation’s worth of site sifting, involving everything from the most basic shovel work to satellite relaying of computer data, with the whole history of the remains-recovery project . . . He also paints a vivid portrait of deeply impoverished Laos, the sometimes helpful Laotians and the military professionals and technical specialists who make up the search teams.” —Publishers Weekly “An unusual tale of war and remembrance.” —Kirkus Reviews