For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Starter Home
Discovering the Past in Central New York
  • Peter Svenson
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Starter Home. Discovering the Past in Central New York
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Best-selling author Peter Svenson's energy and enthusiasm infuse his portrait of Fayetteville, NY. He traces its rise from a late-18th century crossroads in the wilderness to a fully industrialized 19th-century community, as Native Americans and settlers in log cabins gave way to the Erie Canal and, eventually, post-War tract houses.

Svenson’s treatment of the village’s historical perspective is interspersed with a description of his own experience in moving there - factual history leavened by present-day description.

About the Author

Mr. Svenson began his authorial career with Battlefield: Farming a Civil War Battleground (1993), a best-seller that was National Book Award Finalist. Battlefield will be coming out as a reprint in late 2017.

Two more of his non-fiction books have been published to critical acclaim: Preservation (1995), and Green Shingles (1999), as well as three novels about an imaginary writer, Budge Moss: Washed Up with a Broken Heart in Rock Hall (2002), Wrongful Reconciliation (2005), and A Relatively Young Man (2008).

Mr. Svenson's creative career includes work as an abstract painter and a songwriter/performer. He currently resides in Fayetteville, New York.

About the Book
"Starter Home" documents the dynamic of a village's growth as it coincided with the American experience. The life of Fayetteville encapsulates in a microcosm the story of much of New York State and the region.

In format, the book is...
"Starter Home" documents the dynamic of a village's growth as it coincided with the American experience. The life of Fayetteville encapsulates in a microcosm the story of much of New York State and the region.

In format, the book is similar to "Battlefield: Farming a Civil War Battleground" (by the same author), which was a 1993 National Book Award Finalist and bestseller.

The book begins with a consideration of the Iroquois who, after the Revolutionary War, were gradually relegated to marginal status. Canal Commissioner DeWitt Clinton made a fact-finding journey across New York State in 1811 (his carriage passed through the crossroads that would later become Fayetteville). His journal, liberally quoted, provides insights about the people and the geography, the hardships of travel, and tidbits of information that captured the wide-ranging attention of a brilliant man of those times. This is followed by a consideration of the Erie Canal itself, the success of which, plus the development of waterwheel power, led to the village's industrial development and subsequent wealth in the latter half of the 19th century.

America's 22nd and 24th president, Stephen Grover Cleveland, also figures in the story. He was the fifth child in a Presbyterian minister's large family that moved to Fayetteville in 1841 and lived there for ten years. Svenson documents President Cleveland's boyhood as well as his later rise to political prominence, a slice of regional and national political history that bears particular relevance today.

He also discusses Matilda Joslyn Gage, the great 19th century radical feminist and champion of women's suffrage, who lived in Fayetteville for 40 years until she died in 1898. Through excerpts, he describes Gage's seminal book, "Woman, Church and State," which was actually banned in Fayetteville when it was published in 1893.

Present-day highlights of the village, today a bedroom suburb east of Syracuse, are contrasted with those of its past - for example, the opulent 19th-century residential architecture in contrast to the small postwar prefab houses in a subdivision.

"Starter Home" is an original, droll, literary, and carefully-researched nonfiction book that will appeal to a general readership, but it will also satisfy serious students of American history.


Categories

Pages 220
Year: 2017
BISAC: HIS036080 HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
BISAC: HIS036040   HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-045-9
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-046-6
Price: USD 32.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-047-3
Price: USD 22.95
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