Harrisburg in World War II by Rodney Ross

Harrisburg in World War II by Rodney Ross The History Press, 192 pp., paperback $21.99 Like the rat-tat-tat of a machine gun, author Rodney Ross fires off brief declarative sentences to tell his story of how Pennsylvania’s capital city prepared for and aided the war effort between 1941 and 1945. As it became apparent that the United States would enter the war, the citizens of Harrisburg were...
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Artists of Wyeth Country by W. Barksdale Maynard

Artists of Wyeth Country Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, and Andrew Wyeth by W. Barksdale Maynard Temple University Press, 237 pp., paperback $23 Few artists are so intimately associated with a regional landscape as the painters of the Brandywine area, popularly known as “Wyeth Country.” Rooted in exacting draftsmanship and rich visual storytelling, this artistic tradition was founded by illustrator...
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A Gift of Belief, edited by Kathleen W. Buechel

A Gift of Belief Philanthropy and the Forging of Pittsburgh edited by Kathleen W. Buechel University of Pittsburgh Press, 480 pp., hardcover $40 American urban history offers numerous examples of families who, having made their fortune, departed for more refined locales, leaving environmental and social ruin in their wake. The most prominent example of that phenomenon was the Rockefellers of...
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Thaddeus Stevens by Bruce Levine

Thaddeus Stevens Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice by Bruce Levine Simon & Schuster, 309 pp., hardcover $28 In most respects a conventional biography, Thaddeus Stevens revisits the life and times of a consequential American character. Levine limns the forces that shaped Stevens’ sensibility and his commitment to racial justice as his most notable cause. Stevens’ family...
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Absalom Hazlett by Spencer Sadler

Absalom Hazlett A Loyal Soldier in John Brown’s Army by Spencer Sadler Arcadia, 144 pp., paperback $21.99 Most readers will undoubtedly associate Harpers Ferry (the locale) with John Brown (the man). Brown’s charismatic personality and single-minded focus tend to overpower any narrative. Many of the 22 men who joined this well-intentioned yet ill-fated 1859 arsenal raid are usually collectively...
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To Risk It All by Michael N. McConnell

To Risk It All General Forbes, the Capture of Fort Duquesne, and the Course of Empire in the Ohio Country by Michael N. McConnell University of Pittsburgh Press, 399 pp., hardcover $35 Michael McConnell restores urgency to the Seven Years’ War in To Risk It All. Eleven chapters explore, as the author notes, “How he [Brig. Gen. John Forbes] succeeded, and what his success meant to the subsequent...
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Railroad Depots of Northwest Pennsylvania by Dan West

Railroad Depots of Northwest Pennsylvania by Dan West Arcadia, 128 pp., paperback $21.95 Two years ago, I was traveling to northwestern Pennsylvania to attend a meeting in Titusville, when I took a slight detour to photograph Union Station in Erie. The one resource that could really have helped me was Dan West’s Railroad Depots of Northwest Pennsylvania. Who knew there were so many stations in a...
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Painter of the Stars by Lee S. Heffner and Patrick J. Donmoyer

Painter of the Stars The Life and Work of Milton J. Hill (1887–1972) by Lee S. Heffner and Patrick J. Donmoyer Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, 144 pp., hardcover $35 The most familiar visual symbols of Pennsylvania Dutch folk culture are the colorful circular designs known popularly as “hex signs,” which adorn countless items marketed to visitors to Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country,...
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The Health of the Commonwealth by James E. Higgins

The Health of the Commonwealth A Brief History of Medicine, Public Health, and Disease in Pennsylvania by James E. Higgins Temple University Press/The Pennsylvania Historical Association, 138 pp., paperback $19.95 The history of public health and medicine is more important now than ever. As Pennsylvania weathers global pandemics and health crises, it is essential to understand how our current...
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Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr

Making Industrial Pittsburgh Modern Environment, Landscape, Transportation, Energy, and Planning by Edward K. Muller and Joel A. Tarr University of Pittsburgh Press, 504 pp., hardcover $40 Discussions of “modern” Pittsburgh often begin and end with the Renaissance, the rightfully lauded postwar effort to spruce up the city’s tarnished image and clear its smoky skies. But there is so much more to...
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