Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal

Jack Kelly. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-137-28009-1
In this snappy telling of an oft-told tale, Kelly (Band of Giants), a journalist, novelist, and historian, brings to life the texture of central and western New York State in the early decades of the 19th century. The region, its settlers, and its culture were central to the nation’s development in the decades before the Civil War. Central and western New York—overrun with religious fervor, political turmoil, and projects to improve life and commerce—incubated much of the cultural change that eventually spread nationally: women’s rights, evangelical religion, abolitionism and other reform movements, and the Erie Canal, one of the great engineering feats of American history. Kelly weaves his story around the construction of the canal, which brought people, trade, and change to the Midwest and helped make New York City into America’s greatest urban center. A writer of history rather than a researcher or interpretive historian, Kelly has mined existing books but not manuscripts or records. He adds nothing to what’s already known about the region’s history, nor does he venture any particular interpretation of his subject. But those who wish to learn something about a critical era and a critical region will find Kelly’s book a good place to start. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2016
Release date: 07/05/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-4668-7899-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-2937-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-2939-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-2938-3
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-13152-2
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