Every week, journalist and history buff Mariana Dominguez visits a historic site on the South Shore or attends a local conference on historical topics. This week, she decided to round up some more of the best local history books she’s read.
Last week’s roundup of some of the local history books I read had a great response, so I wanted to highlight a few others that caught my eye. Long Island and the New York area has such great local history that it is fascinating to learn about and explore.
“Lost Valley of the Mohawks”
By Bob Cudmore
This book does not detail the local history of Long Island, but rather the history of the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. I like to learn more about the history of a place that I don’t know much about. I’m also fascinated to learn more about the communities that revolve around a singular industry, as the Mohawk Valley revolved around ancient mill and carpet-making towns. I really enjoyed reading about the life of a worker in these factories, from the drudgery and dangers of the factories to the activities that happened after the workers got out. Another large section details famous people and their connection to the Mohawk Valley, such as John Philip Sousa, Ed Sullivan, Teddy Roosevelt and Mike Tyson.
“A World Unto Itself: The Remarkable Story of Plum Island, New York”
By Ruth Ann Bramson, Geoffrey K. Fleming and Amy Kasuga Folk
I attended a lecture on this book which details the history of one of the most speculated and discussed areas of Long Island. This book covers the facts of Plum Island and its fascinating history. I really enjoyed learning about the wartime island and how it once had a future as a resort destination that didn’t materialize.
“The Massapequas: two thousand years of history”
By George Kirchman
One aspect of this book that I really liked is how Kirchman goes back to when Native Americans lived in the Massapequas and provided a more complete history of the area. Many local history books begin their timeline in the 18th or 19th century, so it was nice to read a more in-depth account of local history. I also really enjoyed reading about the founding families of the Massapequas who had great generational wealth. Rosalie Jones was my favorite. She was a member of the suffragette movement and walked the 170 miles to Albany in December 1912 as part of a march.
“The Rain Drinkers”
By G. Finan
“The Rain Drinkers” is a novel set in Bay Shore at the turn of the 20th century. It’s a coming-of-age story written by a Bay Shore author who skillfully weaves together historical elements of the city. It’s a great read for those who enjoy local historical fiction.