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By the Book [Winter 2016]

Nov 27, 2016 04:12PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

History Picks

Boathouse Row
Waves of Change in the Birthplace of American Rowing

By Dotty Brown

$35, Temple University Press

Brown, an avid rowers and former editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, immersed herself in boathouse archives to provide a comprehensive history of rowing in Philadelphia.


Greed, Graft and the Forgotten World’s Fair of 1926

By Thomas H. Keels

$40, Temple University Press

In 1916, Philadelphia department store magnate John Wanamaker launched plans for a Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in 1926. However, when the Sesqui opened on May 31, 1926, in the muddy swamps of South Philadelphia, the fair was unfinished and crowds stayed away in droves. This fascinating history situates this ill-fated celebration against the transformations taking place in American during the 1920s.


Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln's Scandalous Secretary of War

By Paul Kahan

$36.95, University of Nebraska Press

Lincoln’s secretary of war, senator, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of the 19th century’s most prominent political figures. In his wake, however, he left a series of questionable political and business dealings. Amiable Scoundrel is a portrait of an era that allowed—even encouraged—a man such as Cameron to seize political control.

The Second Day at Gettysburg: The Attack and Defense of Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863

By Harry Pfanz

$29, University of North Carolina Press

The second day of fighting at Gettysburg—the assault of the Army of Northern Virginia against the Army of the Potomac on July 2, 1863—was probably the critical engagement of that decisive battle and, therefore, among the most significant actions of the Civil War. Harry Pfanz, a former historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, has written a definitive account of the second day’s brutal combat.

CD Pick

My First Comedy Album

By Billy Kelly


Over the course of his 20-year music career Lewisburg-based Billy Kelly has opened for President Barack Obama, duetted with The Monkees’ Davy Jones and been nominated for a Grammy Award — in that order. Although stand-up comedy has always been part of Billy’s act, “My First Comedy Album” represents the culmination of his belief that clean, silly stand-up comedy can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. “I love the idea of bringing kids into a comedy club,” he shares. “It’s such an off-limits space to a kid—as it should be most of the time. But there’s still so much about life that is funny, and that’s where I look for the jokes—beyond the swear words and references to dating and alcohol.”



Snorkelhead: Adventures in Creek Snorkeling

By Keith Williams

$, Dana K Publishing

We often perceive that there isn't much to see beneath the surface of our rivers and streams, but once we look underwater, fish of all colors, shapes and behaviors live in our freshwater ecosystems. Snorkelhead is a great introduction to the growing sport of river snorkeling. Experience the thrill, danger, excitement, and discovery that can be had in your local waterway.

To view our picks from the previous issue, click here

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