4 out of 4 stars
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The Yesteryear Gazette: Volume One by Douglas DeLong is a collection of newspaper articles spanning the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. The collection covers various historical events and figures, all organized into sections by a connecting theme. Major events like the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the sinking of the Titanic are included in this collection. Further, articles about the flapper craze and moral dilemmas of the period add cultural perspective to the book. And important historical figures are also explored, including Susan B. Anthony, The Black Patti, and Helen Keller, to name a few.
Before the newspaper articles are presented, each topic begins with an introduction that provides basic details about the event or person at the focus of the articles. This set up was particularly helpful because it provided much needed context for readers who may not be familiar with a particular event or person. Similarly, links are provided within the narrative of the e-book to the actual newspaper articles found in the book. The links are placed appropriately, right before the articles are transcribed in the narrative. I found it incredibly interesting to click through the actual newspaper clippings; although the same text is provided in the book, the authenticity the links provided added to the nostalgia of the collection and helped to bring each story or historical figure to life. Further, there were many images included in the book which also helped put a face with a name.
In addition to the reader-friendly format and organization, the author did a great job picking out some of the most interesting historical events and figures to focus on in this book. Split into four sections, ‘The Police Blotter,’ ‘Wonder Women,’ ‘Calamities’ and ‘The Culture War,’ this collection focuses on events and people who had a big impact on shaping the future. I was particularly fond of the articles in the section ‘Wonder Woman’ as they gave first person accounts, interviews with, and insightful perspectives about leading females who made great strides in the suffragette movement, civil rights advocacy, and the entertainment industry.
Unlike reading a history book, this book provided a lot of insight about the perspectives of those living during the time. Instead of feeling like I was simply reading facts, I felt a connection to these people of the past. For example, one topic covered in the collection is the sinking of the Titanic. Included in this section is the first person account of Charlotte, a survivor from the Titanic. Reading from this woman’s perspective not only made the events come to life, but her perspective also added a certain nuance that is typically lost in historical retelling. Charlotte’s account of her harrowing ordeal was moving and made me remember that this was a real event that happened to real people.
The Yesteryear Gazette was a pleasant surprise. What had the potential to be a boring historical collection of events turned out to be an informative and poignant read. The organization and format of the book, as well as the addition of some images and the actual links to the articles included in the book, brought the past to life. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about history. At under 200 pages, this is a quick and intriguing read. The Yesteryear Gazette easily earns 4 out of 4 stars.
The Yesteryear Gazette
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