In this lively and engaging book, Bruce W. Dearstyne presents New York State history by exploring sixteen dramatic events. From the launch of the state government in April 1777 to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, these events altered the course of state and US history. Chapters describe great political changes, historical turning points, and struggles for social, racial, and environmental reform. The book includes daring acts of courage and against-the-odds stories of struggle and triumph. Dearstyne puts the fascinating people who made history at the center of the story, including John Jay, the lead writer of the first state constitution; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the irrepressible crusader for women’s rights; Glenn Curtiss, New York’s aviation pioneer; and Robert Moses, controversial president of the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This book makes history come alive. The momentous events illustrate the “spirit” of New York—the elusive traits that make New York State unique and a leader among the fifty states—and the complexity of its history.
“This book offers a fascinating odyssey through New York’s past by using examples of its national leadership, ranging from the state’s early women’s rights movements to Jackie Robinson’s historic integration of major league baseball, and from aviation pioneer Glenn Curtis to the construction of a landmark superhighway, the New York State Thruway. Dearstyne presents fresh insight into several salient events that made New York the Empire State. In doing so, he comes as close to a recent general history of the state as currently exists.”
— Warren Roberts, author of A Place in History: Albany in the Age of Revolution, 1775–1825
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