Celebrate the Garden State’s 350th Anniversary with “101 Great New Jersey Books”
One hundred and one books that document New Jersey’s important role in the development of a nation, celebrate its people and their heritage, and honor the development of the human spirit are being featured on a special website dedicated to New Jersey’s 350th anniversary in 2014.
As part of the year-long anniversary celebration, the New Jersey State Library, Rutgers University Library, and the New Jersey Historical Commission collaboratively produced the list of “101 Great New Jersey Books.” Readers are invited to explore a variety of titles written about New Jersey, frequently by New Jerseyans. From the rich historical narrative of David Hackett Fisher’s Washington’s Crossing, and the Pulitzer-Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Juno Diaz, to G is for the Garden State: A New Jersey Alphabet, by Eileen Cameron, the list is geared to readers young and old.
The volumes included in “101 Great New Jersey Books” not only tell the story of New Jersey, they also tell the story of America. With its significant Native American heritage and tangled colonial history, the development of New Jersey mirrors the history of the nation. Its ethnically diverse people reflect American ideals of liberty and freedom. Its advances in technology reflect American principles of growth and innovation that transformed this country into a major industrial power. Its stories of activism, political corruption, and racial and social tension mirror national conflicts with which contemporary America continues to struggle.
From recently published to classic titles, “101 Great New Jersey Books” features volumes that document the lives of immigrants who established long-time communities in New Jersey, such as Phillip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus. The classic Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman captures the sentiment of a youthful nation, and Trees and Other Poems by Joyce Kilmer celebrate New Jersey’s often overlooked natural beauty. The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America by Ernest Freeburg and The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner explore innovation in New Jersey and the development of America as an industrial super-power.
Journey into the dark side of New Jersey’s history of organized crime and corruption in The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption by Ingle and McClure and Marc Mappen’s Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation. The information age and the rise of sensationalism is the topic of Mark Di Ionno’s The Last Newspaperman. America’s deep-rooted and unfortunate history of sexism, and social and racial tension are explored in Mary Walton’s A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, Herbert Kraft’s Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage, 10,000 B.C. – A.D. 2000, and Cathy D. Knepper’s Jersey Justice: The Story of the Trenton Six.
For a complete list of titles visit www.officialnj350.com. Start a conversation in your community or online about your favorite New Jersey books. Follow NJ350 on Facebook and Twitter at www.offialnj350.com.
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