I am a history buff. There are certain things that capture my attention. My poor husband had to listen to me for hours when they found and identified Richard III’s body. Growing up, I pretty much thought the documentaries on The History channel were the best things on television. One of my favorite college courses was on the French Revolution. I’ve been to every president’s home in Virginia (and a number in other states). My husband and I spent our honeymoon checking out historic sites around Boston. I think you should get the point by now.
Confession: I was terrible about doing the required readings in my college history classes. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because the material was so boring and dry. That is not the case for this book. If you love history, please take the time to check out this amazing book!
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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.
I remember hearing about Lincoln’s son being rescued by Booth’s brother. While that story was familiar to me, most of the rest of this book was not.
Andrew Carroll’s book reads like a conversation. He is a great storyteller. Many times, I could imagine listening to someone having just coming back from a trip and sharing a story about something that they learned. Even better, while getting some entertainment from the book, I learned a lot. He references so many other things while exploring each hidden historical gem. If I was a history teacher, I would probably be using this book to help bring some of the history alive.
It is tragic how many historical moments are forgotten. As Carroll references, sometimes we just don’t want to remember a particular thing. Sometimes they are just overshadowed. However, I firmly believe that we can learn best from history, so it is important to remember as much as we can. As a history lover, I can appreciate Carroll’s efforts to bring these historical events back into the light.
This was a wonderful book. There were times when I felt moved because of the tragedy that had occurred somewhere. There were times when my jaw dropped at a revelation. There were moments when I laughed. If you enjoy history, this is a remarkable book.
I would love to hear from you! What things in history has surprised you? Do you know of any “forgotten history”?
For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:
- Andrew Carroll’s Website
- Visit Andrew Carroll on Facebook
- Follow Andrew Carroll on Twitter
- Read what Andrew Carroll is reading on GoodReads
- Check out Here is Where on Amazon
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**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review**