Here Is Where chronicles Andrew Carroll s eye-opening and at times hilarious -- journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived. Sparking the idea for this book was Carroll s visit to the spot where Abraham Lincoln s son was saved by the brother of Lincoln s assassin.Read more...
Here Is Where chronicles Andrew Carroll s eye-opening and at times hilarious -- journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived. Sparking the idea for this book was Carroll s visit to the spot where Abraham Lincoln s son was saved by the brother of Lincoln s assassin. Carroll wondered, How many other unmarked places are there where intriguing events have unfolded and that we walk past every day, not realizing their significance? To answer that question, Carroll ultimately trekked to every region of the country -- by car, train, plane, helicopter, bus, bike, and kayak and on foot. Among the things he learned:
*Where in North America the oldest sample of human DNA was discovered
* Where America s deadliest maritime disaster took place, a calamity worse than the fate of the Titanic
*Which virtually unknown American scientist saved hundreds of millions of lives
*Which famous Prohibition agent was the brother of a notorious gangster
*How a 14-year-old farm boy s brainstorm led to the creation of television
Featured prominently in Here Is Where are an abundance of firsts (from the first use of modern anesthesia to the first cremation to the first murder conviction based on forensic evidence); outrages (from riots to massacres to forced sterilizations); and breakthroughs (from the invention, inside a prison, of a revolutionary weapon; to the recovery, deep in the Alaskan tundra, of a super-virus; to the building of the rocket that made possible space travel). Here Is Where is thoroughly entertaining, but it s also a profound reminder that the places we pass by often harbor amazing secrets and that there are countless other astonishing stories still out there, waiting to be found.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Carroll (War Letters) takes readers on an eye-opening and entertaining grand tour of America in this lively exploration of lesser-known or overlooked historical sites. From birthplaces to gravesites and high points to low, from those that inspired inventions to those that sparked change, he leaves no stone unturned or landmark unvisited. Bite-sized chapters focusing on a specific destination as well as Carroll’s own personal journey make this an addictive experience—each entry sheds a little more light on the people and locations we’ve forgotten. The reasons for such obscurity vary, but common threads emerge: these places “evoke shame, they’re inaccessible, the original structure is gone, there’s no funding to mark them, they’ve been overshadowed by other events....” Carroll’s task, “to tackle the larger question of what makes them worth remembering at all,” is thus admirable and illuminating. His accessible and informative style invites readers to join him on his quixotic quest to visit everywhere from Niihau, Hawaii (where an incident sparked the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII), to Hart Island (New York City’s infamous potter’s field) and so much more. Part travelogue, part history, this book should be required reading for anyone interested in America’s past. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. (May)
Exploring our forgotten history
History buff Andrew Carroll—best known for his remarkable work in archiving and publishing American wartime letters—offers a new book that profiles 50 or so forgotten locations in the United States whose stories continue to impact us today. The project began with an unruly file folder where Carroll would stuff history articles he found intriguing, creating a sort of rabbit trail. Then, one fine day, he decided to start visiting these locations to see what they looked like in real life and whether the people who lived near them had any sense of their significance. The result is Here Is Where: part travel memoir, part history, and wholly entertaining.
With Carroll as your guide, visit Niihau, a privately owned island near Hawaii where an airplane crashed on its way back to Japan after attacking Pearl Harbor. What happened next will give you chills. Learn about a steamship that sank in Arkansas, carrying nearly 2,000 souls near the end of the Civil War. Find out about the stories behind little-known Supreme Court cases, the Spanish influenza and 19th-century orphans shipped to Michigan from New York. See their world as it looks today (often, a barren field with no marker). And witness Carroll’s humorous and spirited attempts to engage the people around him in the stories he’s researching. It gets hairier than you might expect (and even involves the FBI!).
Carroll’s own story of finding these sites provides continuity between the chapters. He is a cheerful, curious and avid character. And far from growing tiresome, the book actually picks up speed as it continues, with one of my favorite sections, “Burial Plots,” toward the end. The collection closes in Carroll’s hometown of Washington, D.C. For one brief vignette, we see our nation’s capital through his eyes.
Around each bend is another story, a surprising twist of fate, a crazy tale; it’s an exhilarating ride. In Here Is Where, Carroll invites readers to see their own topography the same way, so that we, too, might share these stories with others as he has so generously done with us.