Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: Book Review: "Keystone"

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Book Review: "Keystone"

The lack of recent Pennsylvania history books has now been addressed by the second current release of a study of Pennsylvania in this book “Keystone” by Gus Graybill. Compared to the other recently released Pennsylvania history book entitled “Pennsylvania” (trivia question: “Pennsylvania” is a history book of a. New Jersey, b. West Virginia, c. Pennsylvania) by Randall Miller, this book is easy to read and would be better for high school audiences and for the general public who want a quick overview on Pennsylvania history. For people who desire more state history details and a larger exploration into Pennsylvania’s history, then the more comprehensive Randall Miller book would be more suitable.

“Keystone” is presented well, with specific sections providing a few pages on subjects such as Pennsylvania artists, entertainers, athletes, etc. intermixed into the chapters. This is an excellent overview of Pennsylvania from understanding what fossils tell us about former life through to the present days of Governor Rendell. The book is very well written, clearly understood, and interspersed with color photographs so readers may view Pennsylvania’s history while reading about it. It is a superb book.

It is always difficult to pull out examples of the multitude of Pennsylvania history presented in a history book, yet among tidbits readers learn are how Thomas Penn tricked Indians into purchasing land that could be walked a day and a half (which to the Indians traditionally meant about 35 miles) by hiring fast paced walkers who extended the purchase into 65 miles, which included the Indian’s own homes as well as their best agricultural land. Legislative historians will appreciate reading how Provincial Assembly Speaker Andrew Hamilton won the first court case that created the concept of the freedom of the press, although his shrewd court skills created the now derisive label of “Philadelphia lawyer”.

From learning the historic, from two generations of Lees bringing invading armies into Pennsylvania, to the good, such as Pennsylvania’s former manufacturing dominance, to the bad, such as Pennsylvania’s most famous highway robber and the smog that killed 20 Donora residents in 1948, the book provides many insights. It is an excellent book that packs many interesting facts. Most students of Pennsylvania history will find this a useful addition to their now two book collection of current books on our state’s history.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whcih state is Pennsylvania in?

6:09 AM

Blogger Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny said...

This is a true story: when I was in a Minnesota libary once (don't I lead a fun life?), the libararian detected a non-Minnesota accent and asked where I was from. (Keep in mind this was an educated librarian.) I replied "Connecticut." She then asked me, "what state is that in?"

6:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Rhode Island a part of Connecticut?

8:09 AM


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